Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Scanning the Crowd; Clubs and Gun Scanning Tech

Security is a hot topic at the Nightclub and Bar Convention here in Vegas. Nightclubs seem to recognize the danger of mass shootings, particularly after the Islamic terrorist attack at Orlando's Pulse nightclub.

Current security for nightclubs involving wandings and metal detectors. These method can create choke points which slow down entry to the club and create standing lines that make great soft targets for terrorists or murderers. In an earlier post, we looked at the Westgate's integration of microwave radar that can scan a crowd for concealed weapons that can eliminate these check points or scan the waiting partygoers.

The best defense against an armed shooter is another armed individual (a good guy) returning fire. Unfortunately, nightclubs don't really deal with too many true terrorist or mass shooting threats. What they do have to deal with is gang violence and intoxicated individuals getting offended and going for a gun. When this happens, you can have more than the intended victim injures, as happened this weekend at the Cameo nightclub in Cincinnati where at least 15 bystanders were hit.

Shooting in a club is shooting fish in a barrel, even if you don't mean to be a mass shooter. Any well-trained citizen carrier knows (or should know) not to fire unless you background is clear. Take cover if there is an innocent who may be hit. NYPD officers and the unfortunate security guard in Henderson could probably have benefited from keeping this foremost in their mind. A defensive gun in the club, even for the gun owner who only got dragged their against their will by a loved one, is a bad idea for the above reasons. Of course, getting to/from the club is a whole other story and often, it isn't the venue that is dangerous, but what's outside. Just ask the people raped, robbed, and murdered in casino parking garages.

Nightclubs do have a security problem, especially those that cater to criminally inclined elements of society. Alcohol, drugs, lots of people, and men competing for women is a bad mixture. We know the incidents that have happened here in Las Vegas. One can't blame a nightclub operator for banning firearms in their venue and searching for them; they can't very well profile and exclude customers who look like they might be the type to carry illegally or be gangbangers. Most of the gun owners I know would never associate with the nightclub crowd. Many clubs attract gang members and people prone to violence, thus the need for gun bans and searches. Sorry, but it's a reality.

The Cameo seems to be one of these kinds of clubs and has had problems in the past. It would be easy to write off the Cameo for having an apparent gang or cultural problem; as uncomfortable as it seems, time and time again we see these kinds of clubs having these kinds of problems. It's cultural. While we cannot fall into the old, racist trap of disarming minorities, we have to realize that business owners have a right to ban guns and institute firearm searches for their patron's safety. I don't begrudge clubs for doing this.

What should the gun owner do? Well, don't patronize a club. It's a cliché in the self-defense community: the first rule of winning a gunfight is avoiding places you're likely to get into a gun fight. Don't want to be disarmed? Don't go to the club, or if you do go, accept the risk. For the real safety concerns that these places have, it's a trade-off. I will say that it should never be against the law to carry against a business owner's wishes, signs/security or not, unless you have been asked to disarm or leave; then it is trespassing. Clubs also have a duty to provide adequate security to stop or significantly deter violence and ideally have trained, armed security able to respond to stop a shooter.

Most self-defense advocates would probably not have a problem with clubbers being wanded while in line. Where we draw the line is casinos or other venues employing intrusive scanning technology to ID and accost legally armed citizens who are carrying for self-defense. Walking the floor of a casino or out in private pedestrian areas like the Linq are not at all like clubs. In those areas that are open to the public, citizens should be allowed to discreetly carry. To date, there is an unstated understanding that a person minding their own business with no evil intent can carry concealed until they go into a "problem location" like a club or concert.

Private property owners, club/bar operators, and the gaming industry needs to understand that the vast majority of people carrying on their property will never cause a problem. While clubs have specific problems and businesses are within their rights to take reasonable steps to ensure security, they do need to realize that lines are a soft target and customers may be victimized to/from the venue. Again, there has to be a trade off. We're find with clubs having restrictive security, but none of that is necessary or justified (or will matter a damn) in other places.

Ultimately, a responsibility and liability for security of disarmed people should fall to club owners for packing people into such a small place and feeding them what Weaponsman calls Judgement Juice. If you are going to put fish in a barrel, make darn sure no one is carrying and that you can keep people from being shot. As for other businesses, don't try to see through our clothes if we're carrying. Disarming the law-abiding doesn't keep anyone safe, so don't get any ideas about scanning people as they come in through the doors of Target.

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