As most NRA members attending the recent Annual Meeting here in town learned, open carry is legal in Arizona, as well as CCW. One exception has been in restaurants that serve alcohol. That pretty much means any "sitdown" restaurant such as TGIFridays, Applebees, Chile's or Hooters. Pretty much any restaurant above "fast-food" will a beer and wine license at the very least. Most carriers comply by leaving the weapon in their car. However those without a car close by are generally out of luck. They can't eat there.
Equally important is the response from the local news. The two stations I caught both got the high points right:
"Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol" not "guns in bars"
"carriers cannot consume alcohol" not "drunks with guns"
and "restaurants can prohibit carry with a sign".
Both station's websites reference the same AP article that uses the same phrases. Interesting even the
I suspect the signs is where we'll have to battle next, but it's an easier battle than state government. That's a battle we can win one one restaurant at a time. All it will take is enough people dropping off cards/fliers explaining the money their sign has cost them.
It may also be a win for locally owned restaurants over the chains. Large chains tend to have company policies towards guns more oriented towards limiting company liability than employee and customer safety. Locally owned restaurants, where the owner is on premises and the skin that is saved may be his own, are likely to see the light. Coincidentally the same news report carried the story of Jenkins Hightower who robbed a local restaurant at gunpoint and ended the deed with a shot to the manager's back (fortunately he survived). Jenkins take: $250 and now 10 1/2 years.
Here's the facts. Only law abiding customers will abide the "no carry" sign on your door and leave their weapon in the car. Personally I'm not going to leave my gun in the car, I'm going to take my family elsewhere. Bad guys intent on mayhem will take such a sign as an assurance that customers are disarmed and they won't meet substantial resistance. Such criminals are only hindered by force. It could be a policeman's gun if someone gets off a call to 911 and we all survive the next 5-8 minutes, or it could be a "zeroth" responder. That is, some one already on scene. First responders have "to respond". zeroth responders are already on scene when the bad deed goes down. (IOW, response time = zero).