Keeping their powder dry: Texas officials back off gun show booze sale plan

JIM VERTUNO, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — After hundreds of negative responses, Texas officials appear to be backing off a plan to allow alcohol to be sold at some gun shows, which would have come with strict conditions.

Staff at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has recommended withdrawing last month’s proposal at the panel’s next meeting on Tuesday.

Alcohol sales would have come with strict conditions, such as banning the sale of live ammunition, a requirement that firearms be disabled and not allowing a buyer to walk out with their weapon.

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Despite those limits, the plan still conjured worries about a possibly volatile mix of guns and alcohol. Texas prohibits concealed handgun license holders from carrying their weapons into bars.

The commission asked for public feedback and hundreds of responses poured in from all sides.

“It was for the most part negative,” agency spokeswoman Carolyn Beck said Friday. “They were either against it because they didn’t think alcohol and guns should mix, or there was feedback against the restrictions.”

Some critics even called the proposed rule a conspiracy to ensure something bad would happen to stir up a complete ban on gun shows, Beck said.

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Beck said the rule was drafted to address the Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention, a massive event that draws up to 50,000 people that is mostly designed as an exhibit and may include only a few booths with weapons.

Alice Tripp, legislative director for the gun-rights group Texas State Rifle Association, said that after initial worries, the group was satisfied the alcohol-sale rules would not have affected traditional gun shows, where hundreds or thousands of weapons can be bought or sold.

“It was never going to impact the traditional gun show,” Tripp said. “Nobody that operates a traditional gun show, not the clubs, not the promoters, they didn’t want it.”