Alcohol complicates businesses accommodating to concealed carry

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

In July 2010, Oak Park, Ill., became the last remaining locality in the state to amend its handgun ordinance after the U.S. Supreme Court deemed its and Chicago’s bans on handguns unconstitutional. Nearly three years later, the entire state became the final piece in the national puzzle to permit concealed carry — leaving us with much to learn and a lot of catch-up work. 

While it was previously Illinois residents waiting on the state to begin issuing concealed carry permits, it is now the State that is waiting on Illinois businesses to begin responding to the new legislation. The Firearm Concealed Carry Act prohibits concealed carry around schools, childcare facilities, government buildings, bars, public transportation areas and even at special events and public gatherings. 

But other businesses, such as restaurants in particular, are left with the provision that they not allow concealed carry “if more than 50 percent of the establishment’s gross receipts within the prior three months is from the sale of alcohol,” according to the Illinois State Police. 

The remaining businesses, then, are left with a choice — the new law or the old standard. 

Take the infrastructure of campus’ most popular businesses, for example. Many of the more popular businesses around campus are restaurants by day and bars by night. 

The atmosphere can transition from calm and collective to rowdy and wild within just a day’s time. But with a change of setting and atmosphere comes a change in risk, too.  

In fact, according to CREDO Action, an online network of progressive activists, nearly 86 percent of gun deaths are committed by individuals who were drinking before they handled a gun. Sure, the law includes a provision addressing the harmful effects of mixing guns and alcohol, but that probably won’t be a factor in someone’s mind during an altercation. 

The choices these businesses have to make can’t please everybody. There are those who are ready to head in the same direction as the rest of the country and others who are still skeptical of a law not even one month into enactment. 

Rather than leaving discretion of the concealed carry law to businesses, there should be a more clear-cut rule regarding the mixing of guns and alcohol in certain establishments. Because while we know that the combination of guns and alcohol can be deadly, we don’t always know the intentions of the person carrying the gun or drinking the alcohol. 

We do know what concealed carry is meant to do: allow us our freedom to bear arms while keeping them concealed. We don’t want to deny law-abiding citizens the opportunity to operate a concealed carry permit as intended — regardless of whether alcohol is served at the establishment. 

What we’re worried about is risk, and just how much that increases when not just guns are added into the picture but alcohol, too.