And yes, that IS a real swizzle stick. Photo ©2011, Brad Kozak, All Rights Reserved.

They say drinking and driving don’t mix. And they’re right. They also say guns and alcohol don’t mix. Right again, as far as drinking and carrying. But there’s been a decided swing towards common sense, as states update their laws to allow those that don’t drink to carry in bars. Such became the case Thursday in Ohio, when newly-elected governor John Kasich (formerly with Fox News) signed a bill allowing concealed weapons into bars and restaurants. Think that sounds insane? But wait, there’s a method to the (perceived) madness.

I’m a professional musician. (I’m actually a lot of things. A musician is one of them.) From time to time I play in bars. That usually means a couple of things: I’m working until the wee hours of the morning, and I’m gonna have to load out in places that go to 11 on the creep-O-meter. Dark alleys. Places with lots of concealment for potential bad guys to hide. Moving a lot of really expensive gear that can be easily pawned – gear that would screw me up big time, were it stolen. But in Texas, you can’t carry a gun into any place that earns more than 49% of it’s income from alcohol sales. Bummer. But in Ohio, as of Thursday, that’s no longer the case.

I don’t know of a state who’s laws allow you to carry a gun and consume alcohol. And that’s as it should be. Carrying a gun is an awesome responsibility, and if you carry, you’d be a complete idiot to drink. Forget losing your license to carry, what if you did have to use it? I guarantee, nobody’s going to be painting you as a hero or victim. You’ll be forever known as the drunk who killed a guy. Well, that, and likely Prisoner # something-or-other.

So why change the law to allow non-drinkers to carry? For me, that’s easy. Bad guys don’t obey the law. That’s what makes them bad guys. Do you seriously think that someone who has evil on the brain is gonna let a little thing like a prohibition against carrying in a bar to stop him from carrying in a bar? Get real. But the good guys? That’s another story entirely. Law-abiding citizens feel duty-bound to obey whatever laws apply, even though they may put them at risk.

I don’t drink very often (my daughter jokes that I’ll have one beer or one glass of wine every now and then, just so I can say I’m not a non-drinker). But I’m perfectly willing to abstain any time I carry a gun. It’s the common-sense thing to do. And the idea of being able to carry a gun in a place where I’m statistically far more likely to need it really appeals to me.

John Kasich is one of the new crop of Republican Governors who were swept into office by voters looking for REAL change, as is lower taxes, reduced spending, and significant reforms. This bill is but one example that these new governors are holding themselves to their campaign promises and affecting real change – not this “more spending, more entitlements, more of the same” nonsense that we hear from Washington right now.

Texas. Are you listening? Time to follow the lead of Ohio, and make some common-sense changes to our gun laws. Because while guns and alcohol don’t mix, bars and a need for self-defense (if you’re stone-cold sober) certainly do.

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24 Responses to Ohio: Where Guns and Alcohol May Not Mix…But They Mingle.

  1. Brad Kozak says: “So why change the law to allow non-drinkers to carry? For me, that’s easy. Bad guys don’t obey the law. That’s what makes them bad guys. Do you seriously think that someone who has evil on the brain is gonna let a little thing like a prohibition against carrying in a bar to stop him from carrying in a bar?”

    Bull. There are some bad guys with “evil on the brain,” to be sure, but for the most part society is made up of pretty good guys, fairly bad guys, good guys who can do bad things, bad guys who can do good things, and everything in between. People who fight in bars are not career criminals. For one thing, there’s no money in it. These are not “evil” people. These are stupid people who drank too much. And you want them to take their guns into the bars. Great.

    Really you are only recycling the ridiculous old NRA argument of bad guys vs. “responsible, law-abiding citizens.” A ten-year old can see through the fallacies of that thinking.

    • Magoo, you are mercifully free from the ravages of common sense. Not to mention your lack of logic that enables you to spout your irrational protests. Rhetoric is no substitute for reason.

      I don’t care what the motivation is for someone who comes after me, in a bar or anywhere else. Heretofore in Ohio, I could defend myself with a handgun in some places, but a bar was not one of them. As of Thursday, that’s changed. While I completely and utterly agree that anyone who drinks should stay far, far away from handling a gun, I should not have to lose my right to self-defense, just because I work – not drink – in a bar.

      Your less-than-clever and more-than-a-little-obvious twisting of my words to claim that I “want them [stupid people who drink too much] to take their guns into bars” is both disingenuous and wrong. But then I would expect no less from you.

      Oh, and just to be clear, if you agree that there are “pretty good guys” as part of the demographic mix, why not allow them to carry? Newsflash: the world is largely run on the “honor system,” where laws exist to help people police themselves. There are penalties if anyone were to carry, drink, and get stopped by the police. Penalties that include jail time and losing the right to carry for the rest of your life. I’m not going to risk losing my rights just to drink. Given the barrier to entry to get a conceal carry permit in most states, I doubt many CHL holders would either. But if they do, they likely will – and should – lose their licenses.

      The question of armed self-defense all comes down to this: you don’t see the point. I do. Thankfully, the majority of citizens/voters/politicians in the USA side with me. You wanna be an unarmed sheeple, go for it. I hear the Darwin Awards are always looking for fresh talent.

      • Brad Kozak says: “Magoo, you are mercifully free from the ravages of common sense. Not to mention your lack of logic that enables you to spout your irrational protests. Rhetoric is no substitute for reason.”

        That’s all boilerplate. It doesn’t mean anything. I got bored and stopped reading.

        • Magoo, your comments have been on auto-pilot for some time now. I used to value your contributions, just because a give-and-take is far more interesting than everyone agreeing with everything said. However, your constant leitmotif of parroting the talking points from the Brady Bunch and your automatic gainsaying of damn near everything expressed here is getting tiresome. Not to mention boring in the extreme.

          It’s a pity you stopped reading (I doubt you did, actually…t’would seem you have far too large an ego to stop reading anything written about you), but if you did, you missed the part where I destroyed your comment, point by point, using a little thing I like to call “logic.” Which seems to be sadly lacking in almost everything you post here.

          I’d suggest you either come up with something interesting and original to say, or take it on the road. Your act is getting a bit stale ’round these parts.

    • This comment reeks of “I hate the NRA, and by association anyone who makes any statement the NRA has ever made, or any statement that I think the NRA might ever have made, or any statement the NRA will likely make…in my opinion.”

      Do you mean to disagree with the notion that those who live a life of crime are less likely to obey a given law at a given time than the average person? Does your animus toward the NRA run so deep? Might want to get that checked by a professional….

      Just re-read what you’ve just written. There is not a lick of sense in the entire thing.

    • Magoo, Ohio law already made it legal for someone appointed by the bar owner to be carrying. So there were already people legally carrying in the bars. And in some bars, many carrying illegally.

      A year or so ago, a police raid on a bar in Cincinnati turned up a dozen or so illegally carried handguns. Not only didn’t the people with the guns not have permits, they were in a bar when it was illegal for a permit holder to carry in a bar.

      Now the law is vastly simplified — a permit holder may carry in a restaurant or bar without having to worry about the precise type of liquor license. Grocery stores — some of which have liquor licenses because they hold wine tastings — are effected as well.

      Oh, and Ohio is not the first state to make it legal to carry in a bar. Tennessee was first, I believe. I predict Ohio will see the same stunning lack of bar-room brawls turned into shoot-outs.

      (The law also rewrites the Ohio laws regarding carrying in a vehicle, and gives anyone convicted under the old mishmash of those laws to petition for their record to be expunged.)

  2. So I guess if you were drinking at home and had to use your firearm for self defense you’d also be “the drunk who killed a guy”? I don’t agree with drinking and carrying, but where at what point do you lose your right to self defense?

    • Josh, you raise an interesting point. I don’t know about how the Castle Doctrine laws are written (nor am I a lawyer, so let’s dispel any misconceptions along those lines right now), but I suspect that in the case of a person defending themselves from a burglary or home invasion, most Grand Juries (not to mention, investigating officers) would cut the resident a LOT more slack on this, than they would someone who has used a gun while out on the town. Still, you can’t count on common sense when you deal with the Law. Sounds to me like an excellent idea for an addition to Castle Doctrine law across the country, if it doesn’t already exist on the books.

      Perhaps some of our legal-eagle TTAG Armed Intelligentsia members can enlighten the rest of us on this question.

      • Without a lot of case law for guidance, I’d be guessing. It also depends on whether the state’s Castle Doctrine is strong or weak. My instinct (with nothing else to go on) is that if the shooting would be justified if the defender was sober, then it would be deemed justified if the defender was drinking. The problem is that weak Castle laws require the defender to use some form of good judgment, not impaired judgment.

  3. Why do so many of those who promote the liberty and individual responsibility implied by gun ownership, so quickly buy into neo-prohibitionist absolutism with regard to alcohol consumption? For the vast majority of people, the ever falling BAC limits for driving (now .08% in most states) are a long way from “drunk.” That is why there is no consensus (in spite of MADD’s best efforts) to prohibit you from getting behind the wheel of a 4,000 lb death machine (i.e. automobile) if you’re blowing a .05.

    Yet if an otherwise responsible CCW holder has a social cocktail or two, he suddenly becomes a walking time bomb who must be disarmed. You say “if you carry, you’d be a complete idiot to drink.” I say, you’d be a complete idiot to voluntarily disarm and put yourself and your family at the risk of predators, just because you want to have a beer with dinner. Of course, I don’t turn into a raving lunatic after a cocktail. You may be different. But please don’t project your own deficiencies onto the masses of freedom loving people who exercise their god given right to armed self defense, AND elect not to submit to the aforementioned neo-prohibitionist absolutism with regard to alcohol.

    Whether I have car keys or a gun in my pocket, it is my right (constitutional right, with regard to the gun) and responsibility to use either in a proper manner that doesn’t endanger innocent people, or to not use them at all. Whether or not I’ve had a beer shouldn’t change that.

    • Just picture yourself “telling it to the judge.” Practically speaking, you might have a hard go of it if the prosecutor asks you in court if you had been drinking when you used your weapon in self defense, and you answer, “Yes.” Might be even more trouble in a civil proceeding. I’m not saying the rules for alcohol and carrying a weapon shouldn’t parallel those for driving, I’m just saying that given the vagaries of the law and courts, it still might be ill-advised to carry and drink.

  4. OK, let’s take a deep breath and get back to basics: YOU are personally responsible for your own behavior, and government regulation to compel some kind of preferred behavior has never worked. Criminals commit crimes – duh. Idaho law is completely silent on whether or not you can carry a gun in a bar, whether or not you can carry while drinking, etc. What Idaho does is hold you, as an individual, personally responsible for the consequences of your own behavior. If you shoot someone, whether you were sober or drunk, the prosecutor will look at the case to see if you used lethal force without justification (were you in the immediate danger of death or grave bodily harm?). If there is reason to believe you committed a crime, you will be charged, and you won’t be able to claim “diminished capacity due to the evil bartender”. Idaho law holds YOU personally responsible, rather than trying to regulate the behavior of everyone else in the state in an attempt to keep one person from doing something criminal or idiotic. Idaho residents tend to be members of the LUTHA party: Leave Us The Hell Alone.

  5. Shaun, I’m 6’4″ and I weigh somewhere around 245 lbs. (But I’m working on that. Really.) I’ve never been drunk (I swear!) so I don’t know what my tolerance for alcohol really might be. However, I’ve blown through a Breathalzyer after one beer and it didn’t register anywhere near the legal limit. I’ve been told that, for someone of my weight/height, it would likely be two or three drinks before I’d see any kind of blood alcohol levels close to the legal limit. I don’t really care to find out. If I’m driving, I never consume more than one serving of alcohol, and most of the time, I just don’t drink at all. If I have a gun, it’s illegal for me to drink, so I really don’t have to worry about my blood alcohol level – any amount is too much. I don’t have a problem with that, because it makes it a lot easier to interpret the law. There’s no “gray area” there. You don’t have to worry about impairment. You either carry and abstain, or you drink and don’t carry. Simple. Easy. Finite. Just the way a law should be.

    While I understand that some people can tolerate liquor better than others, I don’t think asking someone to abstain while they carry to be an unreasonable regulation. Seems more like common sense to me.

  6. Good comments! But actually the law wont take effect for 90 days after it gets signed. So don’t start carrying in Ohio bars untill october.

  7. California has no alcohol restrictions on licensed CCW. Depending on location, however, getting the CCW may be difficult.

  8. Brad, I completely respect the discipline you exhibit in never taking a drink while carrying a gun. Heck, I respect and admire people who never take a drink in their life. I have friends who grew up with alcoholic parents who have made that choice. It’s just not for me.

    Just as the issuance of concealed carry permits never led to the “blood in the streets” always predicted by the gun control crowd, I am aware of no epidemic of CCW permit holders recklessly discharging their guns due to moderate (say BAC less than 0.08%) alcohol consumption. The effect of a zero tolerance alcohol limit for permit holders, but not drivers, strikes me as just one more discriminatory attempt to make it more inconvenient to carry. Many people will carry less or not carry at all – a bad result in the opinion of those who believe widespread, responsible (of course) carry is a good thing. I would suspect the odds of someone with a BAC .05% getting in a car accident is at least 1,000 times greater than a BAC .05% CCW permit holder negligently discharging his/her gun. Both should be held fully accountable for their actions. But I don’t support a zero alcohol limit for either activity. And to have one for CCW only is discriminatory.

    Again, I appreciate your perspective and it is probably the correct approach for Ohio and states with similar laws. My comments relate to the way things ought to be. I just think we should be moving towards the Idaho model where we hold people accountable for their actions, not restrict their liberty and constitutional rights based upon the unfounded fears of those who would repeal the 2nd Amendment if they could.

    • Noted. And for the record, you make some excellent points. Would that all laws took both personal responsibility and personal accountability into consideration. We’d be a lot better off than with laws that attempt to legislate common sense, and attempt to craft one-size-fits-all rules for situations that are (no pun intended) fluid.

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