Empty Holster – Shots Fired!

My wife and I went out of town to a family wedding this weekend. The wedding was beautiful and 6 of us decided to stop at a restaurant near my mother-in-law’s for lunch today. By Florida law, I cannot carry at a bar. My wife’s family frequently chooses to sit at the bar at this restaurant, so I locked my firearm in the car. As it turned out, we ended up sitting outside beside a sidewalk and busy street. Soon after we had drinks (I had water), we heard what sounded like about half a dozen gunshots, not only close together, but close to us! It sounded like 2 guns in a street shoot-out. I was the only male in our group that ranges from mid 60’s and up in age, so we are not the quickest movers.

My MIL, 1 of my wife’s cousins, and I were immediately up and moving into the restaurant for cover. My wife was moving quickly as well, but got delayed by her Aunt and other cousin that were not following our lead nor directions to “get the heck out of the street!” Their reasoning was they “wanted to see what was going on”. I finally got them all behind 2’x4’ brick columns, but it felt like an eternity getting them there. I then called 911 and reported the situation. The only thing we saw after that was one Police car drive by after about 15 minutes after the call.

I have not found anything on internet news, so I don’t know what really happened. Discussing it afterwards, my Mother-In-Law asked me if I would have drawn my firearm if it had been on me. I told her “no” for a couple of reasons. #1, I did not have a clearly identified threat in front of me. #2, if I am standing with a drawn firearm with shots being fired in hearing range, how is another good guy or the Police going to know I am a good guy? Her question was, “then what good is carrying a firearm?” I tried to explain I would have had my hand on it, but not drawn until the danger to us was more clear and imminent . Please feel free to respectfully comment on what I did right, as well as what I could have done better.

BTW, there were customers that came out of the restaurant to see what was going on …


Sounds like you did the right things to me…and… curiosity killed the cat. Your wife’s aunt isn’t a Marine by any chance is she? :wink:


Sounds like you made the right moves to me as well, given the circumstances and companions you were with. Maybe you could have been a little more forceful in directing the stragglers in your group to get to cover?? But some people just don’t react properly to threats no matter how you try to motivate them.

Don’t think being armed would have changed your response and agree that drawing without a clear threat in sight would just risk you being identified as the threat.


Thanks for sharing @Gary_H, glad everyone is ok.
Good thing you took charge of the situation or someone may have got hit with a stray bullet. I understand how people are nosy but why people walk out of the building to see what’s going on?!?


Good procedure and explanation @Gary_H . Nothing more, nothing less.
We carry for protection, not for action. We draw when it’s clear reason to do so.


Scary situation, but you sure did the right thing, :+1: :+1:


You handled it real well.

The only thing I would have done differently was say I needed to get something from the car while waiting for meal to be served.


You Handled the situation perfectly. Nothing I would’ve done differently. Why did it take the cops so long to even do a drive-by is beyond me. Why would the customers even try to exit to see what’s going on. Thank God you and your family are fine.


You know what they say about curiosity and cats!


I can’t say anything. I’m one of those rednecks that thinks a tornado siren is morse code for “come outside and see this!”


Spot on IMO


Glad to hear everyone is ok! Always stay in your lane, if it’s not your fight seek cover! You used a key word “imminent”!
You mentioned that everyone likes to be seated at the bar of this “restaurant”.
Was this eatery more of a restaurant 2/3 food service or was it more sports bar type eatery?
Just curious, because, if I’m correct, you’re within your right to carry in Florida if the restaurant area is larger than the bar area. I could be mistaken.
Even if I were carrying in the restaurant area or outside, if the fight wasn’t mine, I’m seeking shelter or an escape route and any deadly instrument I can lay my hands on, fire extinguisher, etc.
Sounds like you had great cover by customers running towards the gunfire!
How was your escape route planned? Have you discussed the “eternity”factor with family members?
I think we move faster than we think when bullets are flying!
So as long as everyone went home, you acted perfectly.


The bar probably seats about 30 people, but the restaurant is much larger than the bar. We often end up sitting literally at the bar rather than at a restaurant table. Since we did not sit at the bar, the thought to go back to the car crossed my mind at the time, but that is where I would have been when everything started. I usually carry until I see where we are seated, but I’ve had to return to the car (or house) so many times (because sitting at bar), I decided to short cut and preemptively disarm.

There were 2 exits available from our cover position, but my biggest issue was herding 5 women that I would not leave behind. Several of them were more focused on their purses sitting outside than the possible stray bullet coming down the street. It definitely tested those 6 bypasses I got 4 months ago!


The distinction between bar and restaurant and carry-restriction is often found in state law. Here in Arkansas a bar is defined as a business that gets at least 51% of revenue from alcohol sales. Carry with no permit or Basic CHCL is illegal in any business that serves alcohol. I need to do more research on a restaurant with a bar area to understand the nuances.
A more confusing situation arises in Texas. Carry in a bar is prohibited, period, but carry in a restaurant is OK, unless they post 30.06 (no concealed carry) and 30.07(no open carry) signs. Last month I had dinner in a national chain Dallas restaurant that has a bar area on one side of the facility. Signage at the outer door, placed on the bar-side of the single entry door, cited Texas ABC regulations making carry illegal. There were no 30.06 or 30.07 signs. Clearly, the restaurant wants un-knowledgable folks to think carry is illegal in the entire restaurant; it is not. But, the question arises, if the restaurant+bar is a single business, does the no–guns-in-bars law apply in the bar area of that business?


It does in Florida


The 51% sign must be on the exterior door IF the bar is a bar. If it is a restaurant and bar, some separate the bar (business wise, sometimes even a separate LLC ), from the eating area, or some simply identify the bar as a separate entity. In the latter case, the 51% sign will be posted at or behind the bar. If this is the case there is some grey area. Do not sit at the bar if this is the case. You can sit in the bar area if you’re dining, but don’t even go up to the bar to ask for a pop refill.

A good example, The Starlight Theatre Restaurant in Terlingua, Texas has a 51% sign behind the bar. They have no signage at the front door. Go in, dine, enjoy but don’t go up to the bar. This sign is MANDATED by TABC/Texas Law, the bar MUST post it. The 30.06/07/05 is optional.

The 30.07/06/05 signs must be posted at every customer entrance otherwise you have a defendable excuse as to why you entered.

Remember, if you break any of the above rules/laws it is a 3rd degree misdemeanor, so not really that serious unlike it used to be in the past where you’d lose your LTC for life, bigger fines, and possibly jail time.


Awesome job, I never had to herd 5 women anywhere in my life. However it does bring up a great new topic for the ladies.
“Leave the purse take the cannoli!”
It strikes me funny ( funny how? ) that on the day you decided to “preemptively” leave your firearm behind, that’s when the shooting started!
I’m not holding you to this and you don’t have to answer. You know what, bet you already know the question and the answer…leave the purse in the car…LOL

It’s also good to know, you’re not following Brandon’s lead. I’m sure I speak for most of us here, but, WE LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND ! Not the gun, not the cannoli, not the purse and surely not the ladies!

So what restaurant should I stay away from? Just kidding!
I’m also hoping my stents hold up as well as your bypasses.
Quite shocked that with the current fiasco in Ukraine, that more folks don’t have the mindset of “cut and run” when bullets are flying!

Another great reason to carry first aid equipment in the car.


Gotta get that TikTok video…


Ok, I’m lost on the TikTok thing?

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Everyone’s always running around taking videos with their phones.