Second Amendment rights: Use ’em or lose ’em

I’ve had some requests for follow-up on the group of local residents who met for lunch in North Las Vegas on Sunday, May 17, and then proceeded to a downtown park — adjacent to the North Las Vegas police station — to pick up trash. (See http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/vin/Gun_owners_announce_plan_to_open_carry_in_North_Las_Vegas_this_Sunday.html)

The idea was to conduct a demonstration of their right to carry firearms openly on their hips, the way U.S. Navy vessels occasionally transit the Bosporus and other international waters to demonstrate we still have a right to do so.

Billy Logan, who bills himself as “NRA member, GONV member, staunch Libertarian, proud gun owner and Second Amendment advocate,” writes: “Everything went smoother than we could have imagined (minus the problem with Buffalo Wild Wings). The outcome is exactly how we wanted and it couldn’t have ended better.”

Apparently responding with some sarcasm to my explanation that no photo of the gathering was published in the newspaper because nothing of an exciting nature happened, Billy adds, “Feel free to tell the photo editor (or whoever is in charge of publishing stories) that we’re all deeply saddened we weren’t able to get into a fire fight with the police or accidentally shoot a bystander, which it sounds like would have been the desired outcome, instead of the peaceful, law-abiding, and overall GOOD outcome that we had.”

(Actually, if I may be allowed a point of privilege to stick up for the Review-Journal news and photo staffs, I know several folks down at that end of the building who understand and cheerfully support the Second Amendment along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. I don’t believe anyone “wanted” to see trouble, two weeks back. But this is indeed a business where we run photos of bad outcomes. You won’t see many photo captions that explain, “No accident occurred on this street corner Wednesday,” or, “This house failed to catch fire last week.”)

At any event, “When we arrived at Buffalo Wild Wings they had posted a sign outside saying that no firearms were allowed inside the restaurant, and it of course thanked us for our cooperation,” Mr. Logan explains. “I went inside (I disarmed before entering) and spoke with the general manager Ted (I didn’t catch his last name) and he said someone from their corporate office had called informing him that this open carry event may be occurring there. He claims they had him post the ‘no firearms’ signs. He said we could hang out in the parking lot or come inside unarmed and that he ‘understood’ our position because he was soon going to be obtaining his CCW/CWP.”

I called manager Ted Deuke at the eatery at 190 W. Craig Road on May 26. He confirmed the sign is still up, said as far as he’s concerned, “Guns and alcohol don’t mix,” but otherwise wouldn’t comment. Instead he referred me to a corporate number in Minneapolis (closed) and to his regional manager, one Joey DeSilva, who didn’t return my call Tuesday.

Any private property owner has a right to bar firearms from his property, of course. Those who value the Second Amendment have an equal right to take their business elsewhere. One question I always try to ask, when such folks will talk, is how they enforce this rule when a police officer enters the joint. If anyone has ever seen a uniformed officer (they’re “civilians,” by the by) go back out to his vehicle, take off his gun, leave it in the car, and re-enter unarmed — leaving himself a totally disarmed potential victim, the condition into which such proprietors want to see the rest of us rendered — I’d love to hear about it.

Nor does the fact that such joints serve alcohol come into play. I never drink alcohol when I’m armed, nor is it likely Billy and friends were planning to toss down anything stronger than an iced tea at 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning. I have, however, seen off-duty police officers drinking alcohol. Perhaps they always leave their ankle guns in the car. I’ve never asked.

On the Sunday in question, “Me and about half a dozen others agreed to just go somewhere else,” Mr. Logan explains. “We decided to go to the Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant just west of there, located at 855 W. Craig Road.

“They warmly welcomed us, made no anti-gun comments, and none of the fellow diners stared or caused a problem. The tab for everyone came out to over $500 and we left a generous tip … which I’m sure Buffalo Wild Wings could have used since there wasn’t a single diner in there when I arrived and spoke to the manager at about 11:30 a.m.

“Everyone that attended (and some that didn’t) have said they will not be returning to any Buffalo Wild Wings until this ‘no gun policy’ is changed. …

“There were about 20 of us in attendance,” at the clean-up of the vacant lot down by the North Las Vegas police station, Mr. Logan reports. “We gathered about 25 bags of trash. I personally didn’t speak to any bystanders, but other open carriers did talk to several citizens and got the word out. Many citizens didn’t realize they could even carry a gun.

“So overall it was very productive and better than we expected. Thank you for your support, Vin! It means a lot to me and everyone else involved in this event.”

Good news for those interested in preserving our constitutional right to go peacefully armed — assuming North Las Vegas police don’t change their approach to such peaceful demonstrations, sometime down the road.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the books “The Ballad of Carl Drega” and “The Black Arrow.” See www.vinsuprynowicz.com/ and http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/vin/.

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