Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is the TABC violating the Second Amendment? Update: Sign Replaced!

There is a family owned Pizza shop in Greenspoint Mall's food court called Brothers Pizza. I've known members of the family that runs it and other locations around town for years. The shop has been there for about as long as Greenspoint has been open. They sell beer by the bottle, therefore they must have a liquor license issued by the TABC. I noticed the other day that the sign they have posted is the 51% sign. For those of you not familiar with the CHL laws, an armed CHL holder may not enter a business displaying the 51% sign. It means that the business makes more than 51% of it's income from alcohol sales. This triggered a couple of questions for me. First off, this is a food court. The actual business does not have a publicly accessible entryway so you cannot enter the business proper. Therefore my question was how close to the counter could you get without violating the law? I asked the manager what constituted the demarcation line that CHL holders could not cross while armed and she did not know. She then told me that the sign is a lie, they do not make that much money from beer sales but that the TABC insisted that they must display the 51% sign. That sent red flags up for me. So I sent the TABC an email asking two questions:

  1. Why does a business that does not derive over half it's income from alcohol sales have to display the 51% sign.
  2. What is the demarcation line for such a food court type business.
The answers were surprising. The public information officer that answered me insisted that
"I am sure that no one from TABC told them to post a 51% sign if they are not getting 51% of their gross sales from alcoholic beverages. There is a different sign that should be displayed if they are making their money primarily from food sales. It warns that unlicensed possession of a concealed weapon is a felony."
OK, so the lady that I have known for years lied to me. Yeah I believe that.... Moving on.....

The next answer REALLY surprised me. In the matter of what the demarcation line is for such a business, the answer is: The whole food court! Because the business has no separate seating area, the entire food court is, for purposes of the liquor license, considered part of the establishment. The dangerous part about this is that the sign in question is not visible from any of the entrances to the food court. So even though this sign is bogus, if a cop were to stop a CHL holder anywhere inside the food court area (which includes the main walkway of the mall because the seating extends out into the intersection of four wings of the mall) they could potentially lose their right to carry through no fault of their own.

Now, did the TABC officer think he or she was being extra prudent by telling the manager to show the wrong sign? Or did the officer think that he or she was doing the "right" thing by making sure nobody with a CHL was anywhere near somewhere that sold beer? Hard to say, it could have been a simple error, but it might have been something else too.

Update: After several email exchanges with a public information officer (who at first insisted that no TABC employee would EVER tell them to post the wrong sign...) I managed to convince her that this is indeed a problem that needs to be addressed. She dispatched an officer to the store with the proper signage.

Red Ink: Texas: We are working for YOU!

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legislators make laws that no one knows how to enforce, it seems. Personally, I refuse to shop at malls. Only under extreme duress, thus I bet I've been in a mall maybe twice in the past 5 years or more!

October 25, 2007 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't been to Brothers Pizza since high school. Of course, back then, you didn't need to carry a concealed gun in Greenspoint mall for protection.

Don

October 26, 2007 7:46 AM  
Blogger southerntragedy said...

Interesting post, Rorschach.

I'll stick with the Brother's Pizza in The Woodlands. No way I'd go to Gunspoint.

October 28, 2007 7:17 PM  
Anonymous TABC Certification Online said...

I haven't been in any Brother's Pizza. So correct me if I'm wrong. Why does a pizza business offer beer or any alcoholic drinks? Most likely Pizza Parlors offer softdrinks or ice teas. Second, I think TABC has an agent that goes around that area and monitors that business.

September 14, 2011 4:02 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

TABC Certification Online, Why on earth wouldn't they? it is beer and pizza for crying out loud! they go together like milk and cookies! and I'm sure that the TABC DOES monitor that business, along with lots of others. Are you trying to imply something illegal is going on? But while I have your attention I would like to point something out. The law already states that it is illegal to have ANY alcohol in your system while carrying a concealed weapon, you can be ALMOST drunk, blowing a .7999, and legally drive a car, but you can't have even had a spoonful of cough medicine while carrying. So why even bother with the 51% issue? Why must someone with a CHL forego meeting friends to watch a football game or just chat simply becuase the venue happens to sell a lot of beer? it is already illegal for him to drink anyway, isn't that rather redundant? I realize that the TABC does not write the laws and I'm working on getting this changed through my legislators, but Geez this is stupid!

September 14, 2011 8:05 AM  
Anonymous TABC Certification Online said...

Hey Rorschach! Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that there is something going on. I just want to know a few things before I make my stand. We have an imperfect system that's why I understand why you react like that. How's it going with the legislators btw?

September 15, 2011 2:05 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Debbie Riddle agrees with me that the law is redundant and overly restrictive, whether that will result in a bill in the next legislative session is another matter. I've got her talking to Alice Tripp with the TSRA so that is certainly a possibility. Other states have legalized it and the whole "blood in the streets" thing just hasn't happened.

September 15, 2011 8:03 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

For that matter, why not make the limitation the same limitation as driving? .08 BAC? you can kill someone just as easily driving a car while drunk as you can with a gun. So why the double standard?

September 15, 2011 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rorschach,
It is defined the same as driving. Both for carrying and for driving, they both point to the exact code to define 'under the influence.' Also note, you can be .01 and be legally intoxicated, even for driving. Ask your lawyer about it. If you are .08+ then there is no need for any further testing.

May 12, 2012 8:01 PM  

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