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Thoughts on South Carolina’s New Firearms Law and Ways Restaurant Owners Can Protect Themselves

Gov. Nikki Haley has signed a bill – which went into effect yesterday – allowing people with concealed-weapon permits to bring their guns into restaurants and bars in South Carolina, if the businesses do not prohibit it. What do you think about this law? Many have already chimed in on my Facebook page with mixed reactions.

According to the law, business owners have an option to place a sign on their front door prohibiting concealed weapons.

What liability does a restaurant/bar assume if it does not post a sign prohibiting concealed weapons and then serves alcohol to a patron carrying a concealed firearm? Will it make any difference to the outcome if the wait staff is unaware of the concealed firearm when the alcohol is served? Would another patron of the restaurant/bar who is shot have a valid legal claim against the restaurant/bar for serving alcohol to the patron with the concealed weapon? Would the insurance company for the restaurant/bar cover any such claim that an injured patron might bring? Let’s hear your thoughts.

How can restaurant owners protect themselves?

South Carolina business owners who sell alcohol may decide to take liability precautions. The most important way to protect your establishment is to post the sign prohibiting concealed firearms in a visible location by the front door. Make it very clear that firearms are not allowed. Of course, this only applies to those restaurant and bar owners who choose not to allow them in their establishment. If you choose otherwise, please feel free to contact me about any potential concerns you have as a South Carolina restaurant owner.

Outside of posting the sign, others are considering possible questioning techniques. Should the bartenders or wait staff ask every patron if they are armed before serving them alcohol? Is this a potential solution to help limit liability issues for restaurant and bar owners?

If you are the owner, what measures do you plan on taking with this new law? If you are a patron, what are your thoughts about the law?

1 Response

  1. Sharon Sterner

    Here’s what I posted on FB. As well as an additional thought.
    “So, here’s the scene.
    Someone gets angry in a bar and shoots the other person. People around the club/bar have weapons. Everyone draws their weapon to “get the bad guy” or “save the day”.
    *Problem 1; How can you tell in a dark bar WHO is the bad guy? Who would you shoot?
    *Problem 2; Law Enforcement arrives. 10, 15 or MORE have weapons drawn. How can THEY tell who the “bad guy” is?
    How would YOU like to be a cop and walk into a heated situation where more than ONE person has a gun drawn? As a cop, you have no idea WHAT happen, WHO started it, WHERE the 1st shooter is.
    Good luck with all that.”

    As a bar/tavern owner I believe that it would be okay for the bar keeps to have a weapon BEHIND the bar. As long as everyone is trained on how to use the weapon. If accident occurs, as it may, the owner is also responsible.
    My family owned a bar in Ohio and we had a gun behind the bar. While working during the day, even for a short time, I was glad it was there. We were in a REALLY bad neighborhood. Also, I was fresh out of the Air Force and ex-Law Enforcement/K-9, so I had weapons training, which helped.