Gun Law Gets Ultimate Test Over Fourth of July Weekend

July 2nd, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WXTX)-Downtown Columbus on the Fourth of July is always filled with lots of food, fun, and of course, fireworks.

Police will be out in force to make sure that everybody stays safe.

"We will have some increase in patrols downtown in bars and in cafes as we normally do on weekends... they will be more vigilant," said Major Julius Graham, head of the Columbus Police Department's Patrol Division.

With the new concealed weapons law, police may have more to worry about than just wayward partiers...

Locos Amigos Cantina is one of the downtown nightlife spots that will allow customers with concealed weapons permits to bring in their guns.

"I think people will be unaware of it as long as it stays concealed. The problem comes when people brandish it," said David Serrato, the owner of Locos Amigos Cantina.

Owners of popular downtown hotspots like Scruffy Murphy's, the Tap and the Loft do not like the idea of combining guns and drinking.

Another issue for businesses is if people will even know the difference between a bar and a restaurant that serves alcohol.

Just in case you are wondering, ff a business makes 50 percent or more of its profit from alcohol, it's considered a bar.  If 50% or more of profit comes from food, its a restaurant.

Regardless of the law, owners can still decide if they want to allow guns at all...

Mario's on Broadway will be at least one business with the "no loaded guns" sign in their window.

"People come here to have fun, finish the week and start another week. I feel like it's very safe but I don't think people should be bringing guns and we won't allow it," said Sylvia Saad, owner of Mario's.

Columbus Police say they will be enforcing the new gun law on a case by case basis.

If businesses have a problem with weapons holders carrying in a place not allowed under law or in a restaurant that has banned guns, they can call an officer out to the scene and have them handle it.

The new law went into effect July 1st.