The Texas agency that regulates alcohol sales is considering a rule change that would allow alcohol to be served at gun shows, as long as all the guns are disabled and there is no live ammunition on the premises.
Under current rules, venues licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission must suspend alcohol sales and drinking during gun shows, including during setup and dismantling of the shows. The proposed change, which was announced Friday and is open to public comments for 30 days, would allow locations that are owned or leased by government or nonprofit organizations, and which only show or display guns “occasionally,” to to sell alcohol during those events as long as they meet three conditions: There can be no live ammunition in the facility; all guns must be “disabled and not readily convertible for use,” and no guns sold can be delivered to buyers on the premises.
The proposed rule would also allow alcohol sales at historical reenactments that involve firearms, as long as the firearms are historically accurate and kept unloaded or loaded with blanks.
Commission spokeswoman Carolyn Beck said the proposed rule change was prompted when a gun club approached the commission and asked for a reconsideration of the ban. When the commission took a closer look, she said, it concluded that “if there wasn’t going to be any live ammunition, and the guns on display would be disabled, and they didn’t transfer weapons to people there where the drinks were, then that wasn’t such a big public safety risk.”
Since releasing the rules, Beck said, the commission has already been contacted by many people worried about what she described as misconceptions. Among them: a worry that the rules would prohibit concealed-handgun carriers from entering commission-licensed premises serving alcohol. That was not the commission’s intent, Beck said, and it will likely be clarified when the rules are amended.
Beck said the proposed rules are not an attempt to ban gun shows at commission-licensed venues. She added that the commission may add an option for places to continue operating under current rules if they so desire.
After the public comment period — during which people can write in or submit oral testimony, including at a public hearing Aug. 19 — the commission could vote on adopting or changing the rules as early as its November meeting, Beck said.
The intersection of gun regulations and alcohol sales previously drew attention during the state Republican convention, when groups lobbying for open-carry laws were forced to leave their guns outside because alcohol was being served at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Beck said that kind of situation would not be affected by the new rule: “It doesn't have any impact on open carry.”