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 â€“ 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 July 11, 2016
Summerfest 2016 may have come and gone, but the memories will live forever - because we at OnMilwaukee took enough photos and video to fill a large hard drive.
Published July 9, 2016
Playing before the Barenaked Ladies and OMD, Howard Jones got the 6 p.m. spot at the BMO Harris Pavilion Saturday night, and while that's not exactly top billing for an artist who had 15 top 40 singles during his career, I'll take it.
Published July 9, 2016
In a word, Paul McCartney was amazing tonight. I feel beyond fortunate that I've now seen him play twice. Now back at the office, at midnight, Bobby is writing the main review, but I have some stuff to say, too. Random stuff, so please indulge me.
Published July 7, 2016
Go ahead; get those laughs out of the way. I'm trying to write a serious review of Anthony Ray's Big Gig show. You, of course, know him as Sir Mix-a-Lot, and unless you listened to his tapes in the early '90s, you probably recognize just one of his songs.
Published June 30, 2016
If you've ever bought an official Summerfest T-shirt, hat or other branded gift, it's first gone through Dan Elias. As vice president of The Specialized Marketing Group Inc., he's managed the merch for the Big Gig for 17 years.
Published June 28, 2016
In college, I had a reoccurring nightmare that I was trapped on a crazy elevator. Lately, that's been replaced by what I call the "fat finger" dream. I've talked to a few people, including co-worker Molly Synder, who has had it, too.
Published June 27, 2016
OnMilwaukee publisher Andy Tarnoff is very impressed with this year's Summerfest lineup, but he thinks the strongest day for the Big Gig is on July 9. For his money, he's especially excited about Howard Jones and, obviously, Sir Paul McCartney. Here are his picks.
Published June 11, 2016
"It's good to be king." Mel Brooks actually said that, quoting himself, to a sold-out show Saturday night at the Riverside. Based on the remarkable stories, the adoring reception and the super-human energy from this soon-to-be 90-year-old film legend, I believe him.
Published May 7, 2016
I won't lie to you: I know nothing about the current state of professional wrestling. But from 1983 to 1989, from about age 9 to 15, I was a huge fan. So big, in fact, that I wrote a fan letter to WWF announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
Published April 28, 2016
Angry readers, self-righteous writers and surly social media speculators are in a tizzy about an uptick in "clickbait," and in many respects, they have every right to be. In lots of cases, it's a bogus attempt to lure gullible readers, and ultimately, it won't and doesn't work.