Restaurant owner: 'Why would I let someone in with a gun?'

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Talk of mixing guns and alcohol has restaurant owners on edge, including John Keener. The worry comes after a Senate committee gave the initial green light to a bill that would allow guns in schools.

"I wouldn't let someone in with a baseball bat, with a club in their hand. I don't let people like that in the restaurant. Why would I let anybody in with a gun?" said John Keener, owner of Charleston Crab House.

The bill says as long as the gun owner is not drinking, he or she can carry their gun into any restaurant that sells alcohol.

"Them not drinking doesn't ease any of the pain for us, because they can drink in the parking lot before them come in and be drunk with a gun and then it becomes our problem," he said.

The bill also says restaurant or bar owners can choose who to allow in their establishment.

"Then, all of a sudden, we become the police, the judge and the jury all in one," said Keener. "We have to decide on who can we serve alcohol to because he has a gun or it could be a concealed gun and we don't know he has a gun."

Keener says if this law is passed, it would create more problems than solutions.

"He drinks too much alcohol and he pulls it out. If they think they've got problems now with guns, that's really creating a problem putting alcohol and guns together," Keener said.

Keener says no matter what, he has already made his decision in the matter. If the measure is passed, he says he fears backlash.

"I would say absolutely no guns in my restaurant at all, but then they would probably boycott you because you're a no-gun restaurant," he said.

Still, Keener says he hopes lawmakers take a good look at what's being proposed and reconsider.

"I think somebody that has drawn this law up needs to rethink it and decide on another way to do that," Keener said. "If they want the guns they can leave them in the cars."

The bill will have to pass the full Senate before it becomes law.