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 Jan. 6, 2015
I remember back in college, I came to the realization that several different versions existed of me. Those different versions of me continue to this day, but nowhere are they more pronounced than on social media. I embraced Twitter long before Facebook and Instagram, but now active on all three, you'll experience a totally different Andy Tarnoff if you only look in one place.
Published Dec. 30, 2014
These year-end lists are always fun to write, because they are so open-ended. So bear with me if I skip the regular categories and think outside the box a little for this one.
Published Dec. 29, 2014
As you can imagine, it's not easy being a four-season bike shop in a state where it's possible to see snow on the ground for eight months out of the year. But Steve Whitford, co-owner of South Shore Cyclery in Cudahy, says he knows no other way.
Published Dec. 22, 2014
I remember vividly how hard school was. Not just the homework, but the routine of waking up early, navigating its social intricacies. Granted, my daughter is only in K5, but still, she works hard - so I like to reward her with plenty of family fun when seasonal school vacations come around.
Published Dec. 17, 2014
Yesterday, I walked around Packard Avenue in Cudahy for the first time in a long time. I mean, I drive through or around Cudahy all the time, but yesterday was different. I stopped to smell the roses. Every real Milwaukeeans should pay a visit to downtown Cudahy every now and then. It's like a window into our past, and it's still alive and kicking today.
Published Dec. 11, 2014
We all had a good laugh when the word spilled that Scott Walker substituted "Molotov" for "Mazel Tov" in his Hanukkah letter to Frank Gimbel. But you know that Gov. Walker didn't write that letter, right? He didn't even sign it.
Published Dec. 2, 2014
Black Friday and Cyber Monday were good fun, but Giving Tuesday is all about giving back to our community. It's a relatively new concept, but several Milwaukee nonprofits participate, including Discovery World, UPAF and Pathfinders. One local organization, Penfield Children's Center, is making Giving Tuesday work through crowdsourcing.
Published Dec. 1, 2014
I'm going to beat the Milwaukee winter. I will not be cold again. I will laugh in the face of Snowmageddon. I will be toasty warm when the temperatures drop well below zero. Here's how.
Published Nov. 18, 2014
Take it for what its worth, but Playboy Magazine has Blue's Egg as one of its 101 best breakfasts in America (don't worry, the link is reasonably safe for work). The restaurant at 317 N. 76th St. came in 21st place out of 23 Midwest selections, just behind Mickie's Dairy Bar in Madison.
Published Nov. 11, 2014
Can you imagine how social media would've melted down exactly 101 years ago? Nov. 11, 2013 was the end of the "Big Blow," the "Freshwater Fury" or the "White Hurricane," a hurricane-force blizzard that killed more than 250 people and and destroyed 19 ships.