One of first things that you are taught when you go to a gun safety class is that you should absolutely never mix alcohol and firearms. It’s the underlying principle that has many restaurants that serve liquor publicly displaying signs forbidding customers to enter with their own guns, even if they have permits to carry a weapon, in an effort to put a safeguard on potential dangers as well as calm the fears of their own guests.
That’s also one of the reasons that many are uncomfortable with a new push to allow gun ranges to be able to serve alcohol. Guns and liquor that close just feel like a bad mix, but apparently not to everyone. In Omaha, Nebraska, the city has allowed a skeet and trap shooting range to get a liquor license, as long as the patrons only drink before…not after…they finish their rounds on the range.
Proponents of the plan say that a bar at the range is no different than a club house at a golf course. You do your sport, you head in for a beer, you go home. “It’s great. Usually, we have to go somewhere else to get a beer after we are done here, so we might as well give them some more money to keep the place looking good,” trap shooter Mike Tucker told KETV News.
The shooting range has made a number of promises to ensure safety, such as logging who is drinking and forbidding them to return to the range for 24 hours after they purchase a beer, no beer before 3 p.m., no beer at youth shooting events, and a no exceptions, no second chances policy for anyone who tries to break the rules.
“This isn’t like a golf course. These are guns that can kill people, even if it’s an accident,” Bob Batt, chairman of the State Liquor Control Commission said during the hearing. “There has to be zero tolerance.”
It’s not like a golf course at all, where the worst thing that could happen if a person drinks and uses their equipment is someone could end up with a concussion or broken jaw. These are deadly weapons and with rapid action to be able to injure or kill a number of people in a very short period of time. Yet instead of creating more safeguards for everyone’s protection, we are literally removing even the last small semblances of reasonable safety.
Yes, even when it comes to giving automatic weapons to elementary school kids.
The United States has now become so lax about its own gun regulations that it is serving as a literal hotspot of “gun tourism” for those in other countries with more reasonable gun laws. “With gun laws keeping high-powered weapons out of reach for most people — especially those outside the U.S. — indoor shooting ranges with high-powered weapons have become a popular attraction,” reports the Washington Post. “Tourists from Japan flock to ranges in Waikiki, Hawaii, and the dozen or so that have cropped up in Las Vegas offer bullet-riddled bachelor parties and literal shotgun weddings, where newly married couples can fire submachine gun rounds and pose with Uzis and ammo belts.”
The willingness to bend over backwards to any pressure from the National Rifle Association has created a country with an international tourist industry that brings people from countries where there is nearly no gun death, so they can drop in and experience “danger” in a highly controlled situation. They then get to return to their safe, gun free countries, while the laws that allowed them to come participate in our gun culture stand unabated, and result in nearly 300 gun-related injuries and almost 90 gun-related deaths per day.
Our unwillingness to put even the smallest reasonable restrictions into place results in second and third grade children firing machine guns, in one case a nine-year-old shooting the instructor and in another an eight-year-old shooting and killing himself.
In the case of the nine-year-old at the gun range, the owners said reasonable safety precautions were in place, and that most ranges have rules on age limits on handling weapons alone. The range owner called allowing “children 8 and older to fire guns under adult supervision and the watchful eye of an instructor is standard practice in the industry,” according to Fox News.
Reasonable safety restrictions are in the eye of the beholder, it seems. No doubt drinking at a gun range seems reasonable as well, until someone gets hurt or ends up dead.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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