I think I saw a gun today.
I can't be sure, because I didn't stop to stare, but at lunch at the Grand Avenue mall food court, I saw a pistol in a guy's pocket.
I know I just blogged about giving the mall another chance, and what I saw doesn't really have anything to do with it. Here's what happened.
On my way to Panda Express (guilty pleasure, I know) I walked past an older white man – I say "white" because some unfortunately do associate mall problems with black people. He was holding two crutches and wearing baggy sweatpants. I guess my eyes focused on his crutches, because I immediately noticed the butt of a handgun sticking out of his left pocket.
Am I sure it was a gun? No, but I've seen guns, and I've fired guns. This looked like a gun. I certainly didn't ask him if it was.
I immediately thought to myself, "Well, this is what concealed carry is all about," and I ordered my food. I felt edgy as I sat down far away from the man.
I ate very quickly, but while I did, I kept an eye on my surroundings. I noticed every security guard in the food court. I felt like they were at a heightened state of readiness. Maybe someone else saw the gun, too, and reported it.
I didn't, and I wasn't panicking because this is legal now, right? If it is, I still didn't feel very comfortable. After I tweeted the incident on my way out, someone replied that guns aren't allowed in malls.
I didn't stick around to see if he was right.
Understand that this guy was in no way threatening, yet still, I felt vaguely threatened. Why, I don't know, because for this one gun that I saw, many, many people are out there doing a much better job of concealing their weapons.
I guess that's just the new reality.
Update: In retrospect, it sure seems like this wasn't a true "concealed carry." Yes, this man was concealing (barely) and carrying a firearm, but I probably erred in thinking he was obeying the law. But this raises a good point: is it the burden of the non-gun owner to know the ins and outs of this new law? It makes sense to me that keeping an un-holstered gun in your sweatpants is not how the law was intended. In my 38 years on this planet, I've never seen a guy with a gun at the mall. Next time, however, I will surely alert security and let the professionals handle it.
If that's how you, an honest law abiding citizen felt, imagine how a criminal thinking about committing a crime would feel. Even better... imagine you're a criminal thinking about committing a crime, and you don't see a doofus in sweatpants unsafely carrying a gun in their pocket, but instead are left to wonder who among you might be safely concealing a weapon they were trained to use. It could be anybody. Now how does that idea of robbing somebody, or holding up a store seem?
You sound like a wuss. It was probably a tablet or cell phone. Leave the race baiting for Mr. Kane.
I carry concealed but willingly return my firearm to a lockbox in my car if I encounter a sign that specifies no weapons. That's the way the law works. Andy, worry more about the illegal carriers. They're the dangerous ones.
Well, here is the thing. Concealed carry and open carry are 2 different things. If you can see the guys weapon, it's not really concealed, i it? Is the mall posted "no weapons"? I always look for these signs. But there are some places that do not need to be posted, like a government building. I was not aware a mall automatically means no carry. I understand your uneasiness seeing the weapon. I have a friend who asked if he can carry to my house, and I have no problem with it, but when he took off his jacket and the holster was partially revealed until he covered it with his shirt, my granddaughter freaked out. I believe it is a persons right to carry. I also hope and continue to pray that people who exercise their right are moral and sane.
Could easily have been an off-duty police officer...or someone breaking the law who didn't even possess a conceal-carry permit.
There is no way to prove that this was a result of the conceal-carry law.
Show me the other Talkback
6 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Aug. 19, 2015
An unseasonably cool and windy August night didn't stop NEWaukee's Night Market from heating up Wednesday evening. Rather, the crowd bundled up and took in the local vendors, food trucks, dancers and marshmallow making.
Published Aug. 13, 2015
Laura Langemo doesn't take herself too seriously. In fact, the FOX 6 Wakeup News reporter says her goal is to make viewers laugh a little while going through their morning routine, and to that extent, she's willing to try just about anything for a great story.
Published Aug. 12, 2015
The Wisconsin State Fair is great on so many levels, but as an infomercial enthusiast (read: sucker), I have a particular fondness for the zillions of oddball products sold in the Exposition Center. I could spend all day browsing and watching the pitchmen do their thing.
Published Aug. 11, 2015
I was afraid Wisconsin State Fair might sell some "Stars and Bars" stuff this year, but my concerns have been put to rest: according to Kristi Chuckel, Communications and Marketing Manager, you won't find any Confederate flag merch at the fair.
Published July 29, 2015
If you've never heard of floating and sensory deprivation tanks, let us answer this question for you: it's not a form of torture. Rather, some consider it the ultimate form of relaxation, injury recovery and meditation, and it's coming to Milwaukee very soon.
Published July 28, 2015
When you've visited the same place well over 20 times, sometimes you have to look at it a different way. Whether that means taking a bird's eye view from the treetops, or a fisheye perspective from just a atop the water, Wisconsin's crowing jewel that is Door County still looks spectacular from any angle. Even if it's one you have bend a little to see just right.
Published July 15, 2015
Though Liz Lincoln, who writes under the nom de plume of Eliza Madison, just published her first erotic novella, the Milwaukee writer isn't new to penning books about romance. "I've been writing romance forever, really," says Lincoln, who debuted "Fast, Fresh & Hot" this summer on Amazon. " I wrote romance stories when I was in middle school."
Published July 12, 2015
A decade ago, I took a spin around the Milwaukee Mile in a special two-seat IndyCar. I did it again this morning, and it was even better.
Published July 8, 2015
While I only passively care about what happens on the court, I nonetheless passionately, urgently and desperately request Milwaukee and Wisconsin to get its act together and build the Bucks a new arena before it's too late. Just like I preached in the mid '90s when the Brewers were semi-genuinely eying Charlotte as their new home, I'll say it again: Build it now.
Published July 3, 2015
It's a long-standing tradition at Summerfest - and at plenty of other festivals - to use radio station DJs to introduce a headlining band. It may seem like a five-minute formality, but as usual, there's a back story to most of what the public sees while standing on the Summerfest bleachers.