Opponents to concealed carry reform in Arizona have stooped to anti-gun bigotry in their efforts to convince Gov. Janet Napolitano to veto legislation that would allow legally-licensed, law-abiding citizens to patronize restaurants and bars, said the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).

“It is appalling that Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant and Hospitality Association, would rely on a poll that essentially has 78 percent of Arizona residents practicing social bigotry against law-abiding gun owners, who prevent crimes almost every day somewhere in America,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “That’s apparently the percentage of poll respondents who, according to what Chucri reportedly told the Arizona Daily Star, ‘oppose the idea of sitting next to someone at a restaurant or bar who is armed’.

“Fifty years ago,” Gottlieb observed, “this kind of cracker mentality was directed at black citizens in Mississippi and Alabama. But whether it is prejudice against racial minorities or law-abiding gun owners of all races, it is still bigoted and just as insidious.”

CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron also found it objectionable that Chucri’s group, in cooperation with the Arizona Tourism Alliance, Arizona Hotel Lodging Association and the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association, are sponsoring an advertising campaign against Senate Bill 1363 that promotes fear, if not outright hysteria, against legally-licensed citizens who simply want to enjoy a meal with their families, in a safe environment.

“We all remember the Luby’s massacre in Texas several years ago,” Waldron said. “That incident prompted citizens to demand concealed carry reform in the Lone Star State. Today, in Texas and more than 30 other states, legally armed citizens are welcome in restaurants, theaters and many other establishments. We’re not sure why Arizona restaurateurs have such a low opinion of firearms owners in their state.

“Perhaps these business groups should have signs printed up with the message, ‘If you own a firearm, we don’t want your kind in here’,” Waldron added. “Yet legally-armed citizens have proven for years that they are better behaved as a group than the general public, and they actually prevent crimes. It would seem to me that businesses would want such people as customers. In this case, it would appear that nothing is as blind as bigotry.”