I think both sides need to go back to the drawing table
I just saw a video that left me in a bit of a quandary. Unfortunately, it’s embedded in a Facebook post, so I’ll just have to link to it here rather than display it. The premise is simple enough. Kroger apparently permits open carry of firearms, at least in jurisdictions where that is legal. Upset gun control advocates would like Kroger to stop this practice.
Fair enough on its face. People want things to be different. They’re exercising their right to free speech to put pressure on the company. Fine.
Here’s what gets me though.
Kroger is a “private” business that serves the general public. In some jurisdictions, the general public is, by law, permitted to openly carry firearms, even “scary assault-looking” firearms. Some people, presumably on the left, want this private business to infringe on a right.
At the same time, some bakeries, private businesses that serve the general public, would like the freedom to discriminate against the LGBT population by refusing some or all service. Some people, generally on the left, want those private businesses to not infringe on a right.
Meanwhile, on the right side of the aisle, some folks want a private business that serves the general public to permit the exercise of one right, open carry (where legally permitted), but wants to reserve the right to to discriminate.
There’s a weird conflation of public, private, and rights going on here, and it’s entirely inconsistent on both sides. Either a private business must respect the rights of the general public over those of its owners/investors/preferred patrons because, after all, it’s the general public that pays for all that lovely infrastructure, but for which there would be no Kroger or bakery or what have you. In which case, bakeries, no matter who runs ’em, must necessarily serve up the gay cake, so to speak, and Kroger (and Albertsons and Safeway, for that matter) must permit open carry.
Or the argument that the public has a prevailing interest due to the generalized nature of who pays for the infrastructure (for instance) doesn’t hold and gun control folks win on open carry in stores. But if that’s the case, I think we open ourselves up to not just anti-LGBT discrimination when it comes to cake, or the ever-so-gauche idea of pizza-catered gay weddings, but also to a whole range of pre-civil rights era abuses. Whites-only water fountains, anyone?