The Sunday-morning national talk shows have made much of the fact that Pulse nightclub served alcohol. Jonathan Karl on ABC News’s This Week asked, “Is that really what you want is, people late at night, drinking at a nightclub, two–three o’clock in the morning, armed to the teeth?” John Dickerson on Face the Nation was equally incredulous.
In fact, 40 states allow people to have guns with them in bars. There is not a single example in a bar of someone getting drunk in a bar and shooting at others. Nor is there a case in which a sober person in a bar unjustifiably shot others.
In something like designated-driver laws, some states prohibit permit holders from drinking while they are carrying in bars. States also make it crime for a permit holder to carry a gun while drunk. By any measure, permit holders are incredibly law-abiding.
Unfortunately for the nightclub patrons at Pulse, Florida is not one of the states that allow concealed carry in bars.
Police are probably the single most important factor in stopping crime, but stopping mass public shootings is an extremely dangerous proposition for officers and security guards alike. Attackers will generally shoot first at any uniformed guards or officers who are present. During the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last year, the first person killed was the guard who was protecting the magazine’s offices.