Last week the opponents of restaurant carry launched a new effort to impose their will on other restauranteurs.
Their website, GunFreeDiningTennessee.org, states that their mission is to “Let restaurant owners know their new gun-related rights and obligations” by sending teams of people out to ask them why they haven’t posted, and hand out signs so the restaurant can post immediately.
So I wondered: Do the businesses behind this website post on their property? What do the signs they are handing out actually look like? Are they ensuring that the restaurants listed on their website as a “Featured Gun-Free Restaurant” are actually posted?
Click read more to find out. It’s heavy on pictures:
Before we start, let’s go over what we’re looking for. Ther relevant statute is TCA 39-17-1359, as amended by Public Chapter 1009 which states:
(a)(1) An individual, corporation, business entity or local, state or federal
government entity or agent thereof is authorized to prohibit the
possession of weapons by any person who is at a meeting conducted by,
or on property owned, operated, or managed or under the control of the
individual, corporation, business entity or government entity.
(2) The prohibition in subdivision (1) shall apply to any person who
is authorized to carry a firearm by authority of § 39-17-1351.
(b)(1) Notice of the prohibition permitted by subsection (a) shall be
accomplished by displaying one (1) or both of the notices described in
subdivision (3) in prominent locations, including all entrances primarily
used by persons entering the property, building, or portion of the property
or building where weapon possession is prohibited. Either form of notice
used shall be of a size that is plainly visible to the average person
entering the building, property, or portion of the building or property,
(2) The notice required by this section shall be in English, but a
duplicate notice may also be posted in any language used by patrons,
customers or persons who frequent the place where weapon possession
(3)(A) If a sign is used as the method of posting, it shall contain
language substantially similar to the following:
AS AUTHORIZED BY TCA § 39-17-1359, POSSESSION
OF A WEAPON ON POSTED PROPERTY OR IN A
POSTED BUILDING IS PROHIBITED AND IS A
(B) As used in this section, “language substantially similar
to” means the sign contains language plainly stating that:
(i) The property is posted under authority of
(ii) Weapons or firearms are prohibited on the
property, in the building, or on the portion of the property or
building that is posted; and
(iii) Possessing a weapon in an area that has been
posted is a criminal offense.
(C) A building, property or a portion of a building or
property, shall be considered properly posted in accordance with
this section if one (1) or both of the following is displayed in
prominent locations, including all entrances primarily used by
persons entering the property, building, or portion of the property
or building where weapon possession is prohibited:
(i) The international circle and slash symbolizing
the prohibition of the item within the circle; or
(ii) The posting sign described in this subdivision
(3)(c)(1) It is an offense to possess a weapon in a building or on property
that is properly posted in accordance with this section.
(2) Possession of a weapon on posted property in violation of this
section is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by fine only of five hundred
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter, reduce or eliminate
any civil or criminal liability that a property owner or manager may have for
injuries arising on their property.
(e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to Title 70 regarding
wildlife laws, rules and regulations.
(f) This section shall not apply to the grounds of any public park, natural
area, historic park, nature trail, campground, forest, greenway, waterway or other
similar public place that is owned or operated by the state, a county, a
municipality or instrumentality thereof. The carrying of firearms in those areas
shall be governed by § 39-17-1311.
Now, the relevant portion of that is where it says they can have either the language, or the international symbol, or both posted in prominent locations at all entrances. That’s what we’ll be looking for, because that’s what’s legally binding.
On Sunday morning, September 19th, 2010, a friend of mine (who happens to be a police officer) joined me for a ride around the Downtown/Midtown Nashville area scoping out doors. I went out by myself the following day for additional pictures.
First, I wanted to see what kind of signs the GunFreeDiningTennessee people were handing out, so we went over to a restaurant called “tayst.” The owner of tayst was quoted in a Tennessean article as a recipient of one of the signs so we stopped by and took a picture of the front door:
Do you see the sign? I didn’t at first, but as I turned to walk away I noticed it:
That right there is a trap for carry permit holders, which is exactly what the purveyors of the website want to create. I knew to look for it and I almost missed it. If I didn’t know is was there, I never would’ve seen it. I doubt that sign qualifies as “prominent.”
Next up was the law firm of David Randolph Smith. I mean, if this guy thinks that a sign will stop carry permit holders AND criminals, then surely he’s got one, right?
Then we walked over to Adam “I guess the NRA check didn’t clear this month” Dread‘s law firm, Durham and Dread. His place was easy to find because of their sign out front:
No further comment on that.
Moving right along, then. Next we have The Horton Group–the people who design, host, and maintain a couple of websites against restaurant carry. I talked about The Horton Group earlier, and how Ned Horton is one of those people who probably thinks that if we were to just take away firearms from everyone that isn’t a police officer, then there would be no crime. On the latest site he provides a handy Word Document that is a properly conforming sign, ready to print and post in a matter of seconds. Surely he has a conforming sign posted on his front door.
Well, maybe they’re out of paper. That is the green thing to do.
Hey you know who wouldn’t be out of paper or materials to make a sign? A sign company!
Hmm, well, the door does say that they had a fire and aren’t working out of that location right now, so maybe they took the sign with them. We’ll cut them some slack. Surely the other local vendor has their signs up:
Okay well fine. Maybe these people really are ONLY against people having firearms in the presence of alcohol. After all, the site is GunFreeDiningTennessee, not GunFreePrinting or GunFreeLawyering or GunFreeWebDesign. So let’s go look at some of the restaurants.
First up is “Featured Gun Free Restaurant” The Wine Loft. Now, being a “Featured Gun Free Restaurant,” you’d expect to see some proper signage on the front door indicating that carry permit holders are not welcome:
Apparently, you’d be wrong.
So, being 1 for 7 (or 0 for 7, depending on your definition of “prominent”), we decided to visit a couple of Randy Rayburn’s places. First we drove by MidTown Cafe, but the parking lot was full so we didn’t get out to take pictures.I know the suspense is killing you, but no, we didn’t see any signs on the front door. After that, we went over to one of his other places, Cabana:
Now, I don’t eat at Randy’s places as a rule, and it wasn’t open at the time, but that door (and another) is on the front of the building. And neither of those is posted. This is odd, since he was prancing around last year with his “No guns ever, free parking always” signs that became conforming signs when the new law passed in June.
But Randy also gives us our first conforming sign of the day:
This sign is on what appears to be a side entrance for Cabana. Now, like I said, I don’t eat at Randy’s places because he doesn’t want my business, so this could in fact BE the front door to Cabana. Unfortunately for Randy and any carry permit holder who’s lived under a rock for two years and visits Cabana, if someone were to go in the non-posted door they haven’t committed a crime.
I proceeded to downtown to look at a few more “Featured Gun Free Restaurants.” I’d like to say I was surprised, but…
So there you have it. The people behind this push are either incompetent or hypocrites