Guns And Alcohol: When and How They Mix

HB4116

It’s been a while since I’ve written here at TTAG. In fact it’s been well over a year since my last post. But I am happy to in form you that I’m back for a weekly column that I’m tentatively calling “Shots Reported,” and for good reason. One of the things I’ll be doing is surveying people and breaking down the results I gather for you. They may be anything from an opinion on a certain carry style or caliber to hard-hitting topics in current politics or philosophy.

For my inaugural column, I decided to go with a controversial topic: carrying and drinking.

Despite the fact that I quit drinking (several times) over the last few years, I know that a great many of us who carry also enjoy a beer or three when we’re out with our family and friends. So I devised a simple survey and headed down to a local joint that I’ve been known to frequent from time to time.

It’s a business that caters to people who partake in American culture and I knew it would be a perfect place to ask patrons a few questions. I didn’t want to go to a sports retailer because I didn’t think that I’d get real results without scrutiny. People tend to get far more hostile about their opinions in gun shops than is necessary.

The survey I issued went like this:

-What are your opinions on carrying a gun while drinking?
-Have you ever had a drink while carrying?
-Do you see a problem with drinking and shooting?
-Have you ever drunk alcohol while shooting?
-Do you think that you would be able to defend yourself if you’d been drinking?

Armed with these questions, I asked away. After a few hours, I had a sample group that was comprised of a mixture of men (30) and women (20). All respondents were granted anonymity to ensure the honesty of answers. The general results of the responses were fascinating.

All but one person had a negative reaction to carrying a gun while drinking. The general responses were along the lines of ‘it’s illegal’ or ‘I wouldn’t want someone to do that around me.’ I take it that this is rooted in deep-set values that demand personal responsibility and accountability to friends and family. This was, without a doubt, the only question that was somewhat black-and-white. The next question went a different way.

Of my fifty respondents, a staggering 80% admitted to drinking while carrying. I asked about the situation, and the response was near universal. “I had a beer or glass of wine with my dinner at a restaurant.”

This is a typical situation for most people. It’s hardly unusual to go down to the local burger joint, get a beer and a burger, and go about the rest of your day with little issue. For most people, a single beer isn’t enough to raise their blood alcohol content above the legal limit.

It varies from state to state, but in her Michigan that’s a BAC of .02%. Having a single beer with a burger and fries, most people will be fine. An average-sized man wouldn’t even be breaking .08% BAC for driving with that meal.

But is it a good idea? Tell me in the comments. The remaining 20% of the people I talked to differed in that they thought it was either situationally appropriate (four individuals) or completely out of the question (six individuals).

When asked if they saw a problem with drinking and shooting, and if they’d ever done it, most said that it wasn’t a great idea, but either had done it themselves or had been around friends while they did. I wasn’t entirely surprised at this, mostly because Michigan has lots of woods and places that people hunt and shoot and drink.

In fact, a full 100% of my group were either ‘guilty of’ or had been a party to drinking in hunting camps. In discussing it with them, the general consensus was that there wasn’t anything wrong with it. Drinking and partying at a deer camp was part of the event. I’m sure that almost everyone in the Midwest knows someone who’s brought a couple brews up to the deer stand.

The final question, the one about self-defense while drinking, produced mixed answers. Five people (10%) said that they thought that they’d face charges if they defended themselves with alcohol in their system and didn’t think it was a good idea. The bulk of individuals (28/56%) said that they’d feel comfortable defending themselves after a normal meal with a beer or glass of wine involved.

I dug a little further in and the consensus was that they shouldn’t have to alter their law-abiding behavior and enjoyment at the price of losing their ability to defend themselves. Seven people (14%) stated that they would never carry a gun because they couldn’t control their drinking in public. The remaining ten (20%) individuals were mixed in response, with all agreeing that they wouldn’t be sure.

With these results in hand, I’ve developed a pretty good picture of attitudes. Very few people have a problem with recreational drinking and shooting. Sportsmen and alcohol have a long history together it doesn’t seem that will end any time soon.

The interesting aspect, at least to me, is that the attitude changes with the severity of the situation. Since we can’t control when life-and-death situations arise, should gun owners always be sober? Some think so, but I’m a realist. That just isn’t going to happen. Should we be defenseless, leaving our guns at home when having fun? Again, some think so.

So what are your thoughts on my little survey? Yay or nay to having a brew or two while packing some heat? I look forward to your answers. In the mean time, feel free to comment with suggestions for more surveys you’d like to see.

comments

  1. avatar former water walker says:

    I don’t drink,smoke,cheat on my wife or get high. I’ve done all of the above…and I suggest it ain’t my business to tell anyone to drink and shoot. Or not.

    1. avatar Arc says:

      As long as people are out shooting in the countryside and know their limits with alcohol, no harm, no foul. However, there is that one idiot that will inevitably get shit faced, kill someone or cause damage, and need to be thrown in jail for a while. Just don’t restrict the rights of everyone else because one person fucks up.

      In the USMC, people draw their weapons semi-drunk, hung over, what have you. Its one of the few jobs where you can actually show up to work while hung over or possibly even drunk and not get fired. You aren’t supposed to, but people do it anyway.

      I only had my breath sampled once, and I think thats because everyone knew I didn’t drink, especially on working hours, so I got sent as part of the supposedly random people. Funny how a lot of the non-drinkers showed up at Battalion.

      Can you drink and shoot? Most militaries say YES WE CAN! Should you do it? Probably not, but hey, military and intelligence never really mixed well either.

  2. avatar strych9 says:

    I’ve said this before:

    If you can’t handle a couple drinks without putting away your gun then you’re a fool who shouldn’t have booze or a gun (you have the right to the gun, but it’s not smart for you to have it). BG’s are not going to make an appointment for when you’re dead nuts sober and your lack of faith in yourself is extremely telling.

    That said, booze does change fine manipulation so if you’re a “safety on” type then practicing with your gun while drinking to your normal level (unless you’re an alcoholic or something) is a good idea.

    The rest I won’t bother rehashing.

    1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

      James Yeager doesn’t allow guns and alcohol to mix. I don’t particularly care for him, but would you say he’s a fool who shouldn’t own guns?

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        Who said Yeager ‘can’t handle it’?
        Sounds more to me like Yeager ‘chooses not to do it’.

        1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

          S9: “If you can’t handle a couple drinks without putting away your gun then you’re a fool who shouldn’t have booze or a gun”

          Yeager said in a video about his house for his employees that (if I remember his correctly) “As soon as that first beer is opened all the guns are put away.”

          Edit: This is in the context of everyone drinking, I think.

        2. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

          Actually I responded too fast. Yes no one says Yeager can’t handle it, so my question is null. Sorry.

      2. avatar Scott says:

        James Yeager has said and done tons of stupid shit, so…yes?

    2. avatar Hooty says:

      Your opinion is bad and you should feel bad. I think it’s reasonable to assume that should you be forced to defend yourself while drinking that the family of the perp would have an easier time suing you than if you were sober. Has nothing to do with reduced function, everything to do with legality and covering your ass.

      1. avatar LaryinTX says:

        While that is a valid point of view, the only rational way to comply is to never drink. I always carry, including at home. I do not plan to play stupid games with guns, but I have no way to know when someone may decide to murder me or mine. If I did, that day I would be stone sober. But if I am knee-walking, commode hugging drunk when a killer comes for me, I will also be armed. My chances may be lower than they would be if I were sober, but far higher than if I were unarmed. And the family of the killer can kiss me where the sun don’t shine. Deliberately going shooting while drunk is a whole different thing, I consider it a no-no, YMMV.

  3. avatar Shire-man says:

    People who drink tend to be very cavalier about their drinking and pairing it with any number of activities be it driving, shooting, dancing or just speaking. I’ve had a beer at dinner before while carrying. I’d say I did not have another because I was carrying but I rarely even have one. Two just doesn’t happen. I don’t like feeling as though something is dulling my senses. Drunks are insufferable.

  4. avatar Rokurota says:

    In my state, you can’t drink and carry unless you’re open carrying. I have often “forgotten” I’m wearing my CCW and it’s never been a problem. I usually only have one or two drinks and have all my faculties. I’ve considered OCing, but have only done it once. (Another patron in the restaurant was OCing, so I knew the staff wouldn’t have a problem). Never been hunting or shooting wiith alcohol.

  5. avatar Porkchop says:

    In Virginia, it is legal to carry in a commercial establishment that serves alcohol, but you can’t consume alcohol in such an establishment while carrying. I suppose that presents kind of a dilemma to some — carry or drink? For me, it depends on the establishment and its location. There are some places where you expect to see rowdy drunks. I try to avoid sketchy places, but if I can’t, I just make an excuse not to drink while there, so I can carry legally. There are other places where the rowdiness factor is simply not there, so I feel comfortable drinking and not carrying. It all depends on an assessment of the likelihood of trouble at a particular time and place — I recognize that someday I could make a wrong choice and the odds may catch up with me, but that’s the case with pretty much everything in life.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      Just be the designated driver when you carry, and when you’re drinking have another pal be the designated driver. That’s what I do with my friends.

      1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

        Designated Shooter.

  6. avatar Jon in CO says:

    Here in CO, the second a drink touches your lips, the law requires you to be unarmed. There’s no .08 limit when carrying. Same for pot. Simply being in possession of pot while carrying will F you hard. Do I see an issue with people having a couple drinks with their dinner, or out with coworkers before they go home? No. Honestly, I don’t care if you get blitzed beyond recognition, but if you do, and end up doing stupid shit with your gun, then I have a problem.

    There shouldn’t be any issues with people doing anything until they start hurting others or others property.

    1. avatar Max says:

      “Here in CO, the second a drink touches your lips, the law requires you to be unarmed. There’s no .08 limit when carrying.”

      Sounds like somebody gave you wrong info brother. The official Colorado statute on the subject says:

      “A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if:

      The person has in his or her possession a firearm while the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102…”

      The only definition of ‘under the influence’ in Colorado is for DUI law, and is defined as having a BAC higher than .08. To date, the only court cases where someone was successfully charged with carrying a firearm ‘under the influence’ were in situations where the person would have easily been identified by any reasonable person as being drunk.

      1. avatar Jon in CO says:

        For sure, I probably should’ve read that better. It’s a nonissue for me, I don’t drink, so that’s probably while I glossed over it. Either way though, if people aren’t hurting anyone or doing stupid stuff, I think it’s fine.

  7. avatar PROUD chicano says:

    Alcohol greatly impairs your judgement even if you don’t realize it at the time. If your going out for some drinks with your buds leave the heater at home.

  8. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

    Not an expert. But my personal life experience tells me that people who are triggered by questions about drinking and(insert activity of choice) are folks that either know they have a problem or are in denial. You do not drive better, shoot better or have better fine motor skills after a couple of drinks. Period. And if you can’t have a good time without alcohol you have a problem.

    The guy that used to comment here. Michael in Georgia? He used to get into knock down drag out fights here defending his right to drink and carry a gun.

    Then he posts an article wringing his hands and crying because he violated work place rules, an airline I believe, concerning weapons and was on the verge of losing a job he’d had for decades.

    How much of his fuzzy memory about work place rules was due to getting buzzed every night?

    In my youth I drank, smoked dope and partook of less than intelligent activities. But then I grew up.

    As for booze in a deer camp. At the end of the day and the guns are put away it’s fine. But i will not hunt with anybody that replaces their coffee with booze. Nor will I boat with them or let them drive.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Just one man’s perspective; the right to keep and bear arms is the logical extension of your God given right to defend yourself. Even if you expose yourself to danger you still have the right to defense. Otherwise you could come to all sorts of illogical conclusions. For instance, just because you didn’t get her entire sexual history doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right to seek medical treatment when your pecker turns green. Rights aren’t conditional on good judgement. A drunk (and I’m talking stinking drunk) still has the right to defend himself if attacked, therefore he also has the right to carry the means of defense.

      It is however unwise to be stinking drunk in public (or at home for that matter) whether or not you’re armed. There’s all sorts of bad things that can happen, you could crash your car, slip in the shower, etc. There was a guy who worked for my dad who fell down the stairs, broke his neck and died because he was drunk. And intoxication will not and should not be considered and excuse, or even a mitigating factor, should someone misuse a firearm or a vehicle. You don’t have the right to get drunk and infringe on the rights of others.

      So from a practical matter, if you’re going to drink, know your limitations and remain well within them. Or prepare to deal with the repercussions. But just because my reaction times might be 10% slower doesn’t mean I have a duty to die.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Thanks for the reminder, Guv. Folks, I know it’s hard to believe, but when I was a kid, if you did something incredibly stupid which caused people to be injured or killed, being drunk at the time could actually be used as a DEFENSE! Honest to god. Getting that shit stopped was one of the few laws since then which I can get behind without reservation.

    2. avatar IdahoBoy says:

      Beer. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

  9. avatar Anner says:

    Practice defensive shooting drills while hammered. Get good. Now you’re prepared for everything. Problem solved.

  10. avatar Mark says:

    How about home carrying while drinking and commenting on blogs? Only danger probably to the monitor.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      And the cats.

  11. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I sometimes have a beer while carrying.

    I dont go to bars unless it’s business related and i try to abide by the law.

    If i show up at a shooting event (whatever type) where people are drinking, i leave. Period.

    People are kidding themseleves if they say they can have two or three drinks and not be affected.

    Live like you wanna live….but i imagine you will face additional scrutiny if someone smells alcohol after a DGU. Could turn a justifiable shoot into a witch-hunt pretty quick.

  12. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

    A cool survey would be how people broke concealment (hugging, reaching, wind, all of the above, etc.).

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      If breaking wind makes you lose concealment you’re either doing it wrong or you should probably see a doctor asap.

      1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

        If you’re wearing a T-shirt, it could easily happen, especially if you’re wearing one of those soft, thin ones.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          or assless chaps with a thigh rig… after coffee and a bran muffin. or sugarfree gummi’s.

  13. avatar Grace12 says:

    My state says it’s ok to walk into a bar armed to the teeth and drink. Maybe they expect people to be responsible adults. And Anner has the right idea.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      What is “armed to the teeth”? Similar to a MSM “arsenal”?

      1. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

        No. It’s when you have a military-grade collar that you can hide your teeth behind when you see a fist coming for your mouth. And when the fist meets the collar, the collar’s starch breaks the fist’s bones.

      2. avatar Grace12 says:

        It simply means carrying a maximum number of armaments whatever they may be.

        1. avatar Scoutino says:

          “What’s maximum number of armaments you can carry?”
          “42.”
          Hey, it works! Do you think we finally found The Question?

  14. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Here in Iowa you’re legal to carry up to a BAC of 0.08% and bar carry is legal. My philosophy is that a holstered weapon is no different than your car keys in your pocket – nobody can get hurt unless you get them out. No matter how much you’ve had to drink. Granted, there are plenty of people who can’t manage to keep their car keys in their pocket when drunk, but I’d be much more reluctant to pulling a gun when drunk than thinking I could hit a few back streets home without incident. Drunk or sober you’d better have a damn good reason for pulling it out either way.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Interesting side story, but just last Saturday night I had a conversation with the local sheriff while drinking while armed. His assistant is a regular there and her husband is a retired deputy. They and several other patrons know I and another patron carry. Nobody seems to care.

  15. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Opinion on drinking while armed?. Not a good idea….Have you ever had a drink while carrying? Yes….Do you see a problem with drinking and shooting? Yes….Have you ever drank alcohol while shooting? Yes…Do you think you’d be able to defend yourself if you’d been drinking?. Not proficiently. … Do you drink? No

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Ironicatbest,

      It all depends on the person (especially their body weight), how often they drink, what they have had to eat, how much alcohol they consume, and how fast they consume it.

      And drinking just enough alcohol to be “buzzed” could actually improve shooting skills. I know two people whose performance playing a first-person combat video game improved substantially when they were buzzed compared to when they were stone-cold sober. Of course if they kept drinking then their performance would substantially degrade compared to sober.

      My point is that there is a level of alcohol consumption that does not increase danger to anyone. Of course there is also a point of consumption that indeed increases danger to everyone. If we do not trust people to know where that line is and voluntarily disarm themselves, why do we trust those same people to disarm before consuming alcohol?

      1. avatar meadowsr says:

        Johnny Fever confirmed that, during a test on-air at WKRP (in Cincinnati) back in the day! 😉

  16. avatar DCJ says:

    “Darrying and drinking” you don’t say…

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      He started hitting it a little early…..before the copy was in.

  17. avatar Lightfoot says:

    Common Sence People!!!
    Carry concealed whenever you want, BUT IF you get into a DGU Scenario, you better be ready with all the defenses available to you. (And that includes your use of Alcohol).

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Head on a swivel, boys!

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Keep a 6-pack in the trunk, if you have to shoot the mofo, crack a couple and pour them out, ‘splain to da man that having to shoot the mofo to save your own life was so stressful, you popped a couple to calm you down.

  18. avatar TexTed says:

    Drinking impairs judgement.

    Use of a firearm is such a monumental responsibility, it demands maximum judgement.

    People who drink and carry are stupid, fooling themselves, and a danger to those around them. If you end up in a DGU while under the influence, you will have made the prosecutor’s job much easier.

    In life there are some very clear markers between things that stupid people do, and things that smart people do. Eating Tide Pods is an example of a thing that stupid people do. Carrying while drinking is another.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      TexTed,

      “Drinking impairs judgement.”

      Your absolute statement is demonstrably false.

      There is a continuum from ZERO impairment to totally impaired depending on how much a person weighs, how often they drink alcohol, how physically fit they are, how much food is in their stomachs before they drink, and how much they drink.

      And to prove my point, here is one simple example that disproves your absolute statement: a physically fit 220 pound man who has one or two servings of alcohol every day and consumes two servings of alcohol after eating a full meal will have ZERO impairment.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Reference?

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Specialist38,

          What I described is common knowledge as well as common experience and needs no reference. Furthermore, it is obvious at face value: a given amount of alcohol produces less blood alcohol level in large people compared to small people. And a hearty meal in your stomach significantly reduces alcohol passing into your body.
          (The food in your stomach absorbs some of the alcohol which is no longer able to readily pass into your bloodstream and the food slows the rate of alcohol passing through your stomach wall — allowing your liver to “catch up” and metabolize alcohol as it enters your bloodstream.)

          If you don’t believe me, drink two shots of liquor on an empty stomach and note the effects. On another day, eat a hearty meal, drink two shots, and note the effects. This will demonstrate how food in your stomach profoundly alters the effects (if any) of alcohol.

          And repeat that experiment comparing the effect of four shots versus two shots, which demonstrates how much a “large” person “dilutes” a given amount of alcohol compared to a “small” person. (A person who is twice the size of a “small” person would have to drink twice as much alcohol to achieve the same blood alcohol level.)

          You will observe significant differences.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      TexTed, I may have made the prosecutor’s job easier, but the point is that I will be present for that prosecution, not planted out on the back 40. Rule #1 is, I do not disarm. I do not play vigilante games, either. If I have to drawandfire (one word), it is because without doing so I would die. I’ll concern myself with how much I’d had to drink, later. If I survive.

  19. avatar Bob says:

    According to the state of PA, the two have no connection to each other.

    Sober or drunken, both have a right to self defense in any means chosen. Claiming someone is not accurate or a critical thinker while impaired is no different than claiming a sober person to be poorly skilled or of low intellect.

    This forum tears apart any and all slippery slopes toward anti gun acts.

    Think this way.

    Zero tolerance…..

    Glass of wine at a dinner with the family, gun must stay at home, restaurant is robbed, family is shot.

    Could you have defended them even though you drank that glass?……

    We had this same issue with our fire department when we went zero tolerance, we now have problems with lack of members showing up during prime BBQ times or evenings because even one beer counts you out for 48 hours. So then the question becomes what if somebody dies because we couldn’t respond to help them. So far for many of us the answer is simply no alcohol for fear of that, but is that really fair?
    Where does that begin to infringe upon your daily life?
    My wife works at a hospital that will fire you if you are caught smoking or other ill behavior outside of work as the hospital claims they try to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle, so in order to keep your job you have to walk a line outside of work as well…..

    See, slippery slopes..

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I remember reading something about a right to ‘the pursuit of happiness’ somewhere.

      1. avatar Bob says:

        Fake news.

  20. avatar BD says:

    Not going to hang around people who drink and carry/drive if I can help it.
    Sweet tea for me; keeps me quicker than liquor.

    1. avatar Scoutino says:

      I may not be quicker after drinking tea, but I’m definitely more frequent.

  21. avatar CHS says:

    If you can lawfully OPERATE a vehicle (not just possess it) while intoxicated up to %.08, then why shouldn’t you be allowed to passively carry a firearm that you’re not even actively operating, under the same conditions?

    That’s never made sense to me.

    1. avatar Scoutino says:

      This.
      Should I leave my pocket knife home too? What about other possible weapons? Broken bottle is awfully easy to get in bars.

      What about not drinking beyond the point of making a fool out of myself?
      I gave up on hard stuff and vine in my research, looking for that thin line. Couple of beers for my 220 pounds body are safely under it.

  22. avatar Isaac says:

    Honest answer is I usually volunteer to be the DD, having said that sometimes (think very nice restaurants) you draw unwanted attention if you order a soft drink in that case I suggest no more than two small glasses (4-5 oz wine or 10-12 oz beer).

    As for home carry it’s not really a nessesity where and how I live. So if I choose to have a drink and then have to defend my home/self I’m not too concerned.

  23. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    My standard is very simple: if you are unable to control yourself (either physically or mentally) and are therefore unable to handle/use firearms responsibly, then you should not be carrying or using firearms. Whether or not alcohol consumption, recreational drugs, prescription drugs, or effects from a severe injury are the cause of your inability to be responsible is neither here nor there.

    With respect to alcohol specifically, I am thinking that you are good to go until your reaction time is seriously impaired, you are slurring your speech, you are having vision problems, or you are having trouble balancing. In other words pretty much the same standard for driving a multi-thousand pound deadly weapon.

    1. avatar Huntmaster says:

      This is too easy. One, with a meal. Obey those two rules and you can’t go wrong. Kind of like how you obey the rules of gun safety.

  24. avatar Kevin b says:

    Alcohol doesn’t make anyone smarter.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Unless it gets them to put down the bong…

    2. avatar Scoutino says:

      Smarter, maybe not. But it can make girls more attractive!

  25. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    TTAG editors should do some laser or Airsoft scenarios with a few drinks and a Breathalyzer. That would make for an interesting project

    1. avatar Bob says:

      How much would you be willing to pay to see it?

      1. avatar TexTed says:

        Clicks. I’d pay a click to see that.

        That’s useful stuff. Great suggestion, David!

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      I remember the Great American Drunk-Off (they did Weed later) done by Car and Driver or Road and Track in the 70s.

      It was funny as shit. I seem to remember that one drink actually increased most of the drivers performance.

      Then it went downhill fast. Some folks appeared more impaired, but everyone’s reactions were affected. It was pretty significant, pretty quick.

      They later did it with weed and one driver opined that weed was more dangerous than alcohol. He said that he was more mobile with weed and seemed less impaired, but was unable to focus on driving skills.

      He reasoned that if he were equally impaired on alcohol, he would have passed out. He was a veteran weeder as well.

  26. avatar Mike says:

    Anyone know which States are legal to carry and have a drink. I believe CT does not make it illegal. NC does. I have had a drink with a meal while carrying. I have a a drink while shooting on private land.
    A drink and getting drunk are very different.
    If you had a DGU while drinking a lawyer could use that against you.

    1. avatar Matt says:

      CT used to be carrying a loaded firearm up to .1% blood alcohol was legal. They talked about changing the limit a couple of years ago but I do not recall if it changed.

      Of course, research the laws yourself, don’t take my work for it.

      RE the broader point.

      Define drinking first is necessary. There are of course different levels of drinking, a drink or two over the course of the evening to mass consumption.

      Now my opinion.

      I almost always fall into the former category and I always carry while in it.

      When I plan fall into the later, I take appropriate precautions such as leaving my firearm home or securing it before mass consumption begins.

      When I start in the former and decide to transition into the later, I take appropriate precautions such as leaving my firearm home or securing it before mass consumption begins.

      Alcohol, firearms, motorcycles, credit cards, reproduction, chain saws, butt play, etc all require responsibility and honest acceptance and knowledge of ones limits. It is not possible to legislate responsibility especially on these subjective matters regardless of the extant laws.

      Bottom line IMO, it is personal responsibility and if you are a knuckle head, it doesn’t matter if you have 2 drinks or 12, you will still be a knuckle head. 12 just makes it much harder for you to control how much of a knuckle head your are currently being.

  27. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    I don’t carry if I have more than two drinks. I don’t smoke pot but that is only because it is illegal. If it was legal to smoke it and carry a gun I might. I really value being able to legally own guns so I wouldn’t unless it was legal. Not going to risk it.

  28. avatar Toni says:

    here in australia a learner driver must be 0.00 as must any professional driver (Taxi, truck etc) on a provisional license you must be under 0.02 and fully licensed 0.05. to be handling firearms it is 0.00 and IF they catch you it is loss of license and firearms.

    if i plan on having a session (anything more than a single drink) i put all firearms away first. if i am driving or likely to need to be driving i follow the same policy. many dont.

    one of our Olympic shooters was coming home from the range where he had a meal and a few drinks and was over the limit here in australia. he lost his firearms license and of course all his guns (no recompense here which i think is utter BS) the fact that his firearms were locked away in the boot of the car according to the law meant nothing to the cops here.

    i dont agree with the laws here but if you choose to drink to excess and then act stupid with your guns you should pay the price right up to and including murder or manslaughter if you harm someone as a result. if you drink a few to many but can remain otherwise in control and go home and sleep it off there should be no problem.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Once again I am glad I live in the US.

      I do agree that we are always responsible for our actions.

      Big difference in having a drink and “drinking”.

      In my company, i usually drive after dinner as I will have a drink….and stop.

      I got tired of taking keys, so I just drive.

  29. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    only one way to find out. hope you learn your limits before you lose some freedoms.
    drink and drive… severe penalties for causing an injury while doing so, no exceptions.
    drink and defend yourself… we ‘ve got some assclown comments up above.
    i walk .75miles each way through a constantly changing neighborhood recently blessed with additional condo quality rib tip section eight vouchers, etc. i pass basil liquors on the way (a previous ttag dgu article) and the apartment where the teen was found decapitated not so long ago.
    i enjoy the walk very much. there is a tavern halfway through the round trip. i will remain steadfastly polite on my outings and do not expect any trouble. but therein lies the rub.

  30. avatar anonymoose says:

    If you need me, I’ll be in that article about the wild turkeys.

    1. avatar Just Sayin says:

      LoL
      “…the Wild Turkey”.
      I see what you did there.
      Hahaha

  31. avatar Timothy says:

    I, like the author and many here, have had a drink or two while carrying. I tend to follow the guidelines for drinking and driving as equivalent to drinking and carrying/shooting.

    In the Air Force, a drunk person is not capable of consenting to sex. They are not capable of driving, and in my career specifically, they are not capable of handling live munitions.

    I don’t want to tell a drunkard that they have no rights to self defense, because they absolutely should be able to defend themselves. I also don’t think that a person choosing to inebriate themselves should be allowed to do all of the same things as a sober person. So I draw a blurry line across my state’s BAC limit for driving.

  32. avatar Sledgecrowbar says:

    I draw parallels with driving. You’re operating a tool capable of lethality, and if you are also drinking, your decision-making ability, reaction time, and inhibitions against poor behavior are affected, but not necessarily sufficiently to warrant action unless it is at a certain limit. Lots of people make the decision whether or not to drive home every night after drinking, and it’s their choice, and hopefully they make the right one. And the right one isn’t necessarily not to drive, or not to carry, but good decision making saves lives.

    Carrying a gun saves lives too, so hopefully people do carry, even if they have a beer with dinner, when they can responsibly decide, correctly, that they are capable of operating a firearm for defense of life. In the end, carrying drunk is probably less dangerous than driving drunk, because a gun’s natural state is at rest on your hip, not carrying two tons and 60 miles an hour of energy down the road with other cars on the same road. People who can’t keep their temper when drunk probably shouldn’t be carrying a firearm when they’re sober, but that’s not an opinion I expect to be shared by all and that’s fine.

  33. avatar ChewyCz says:

    Great questions!
    Personally, when I carry in public I avoid alcohol. Especially in urban areas, I want to remain sharp and dread a situation where I have to use my firearm and have a positive BAC. I may sip a beer or glass of wine to be sociable but will not finish it. I’m happy to let my wife and friends indulge and take on the DD role.

    In a private environment, having a few beers while target shooting or plinking with friends is perfectly fine (although YMMV).

    As gun owners we take personal responsibility for ourselves and our firearm(s). This not complicated.

  34. avatar Just Sayin says:

    So, truly, the only appropriate time to CC a machine gun is when you are going drinking.

    “Spray and pray”…

    (Bump stock owners need not apply.)

  35. avatar RetroG says:

    The truth is, MANY things impair your decision making and physical abilities. Being tired, injured, sick, virtually all medications, emotional problems, the list goes on and on. Are you going to forgoe defense of yourself, friends and loved ones while you are impaired in any way whatsoever? I’m not, and I know the point at which my alcohol intake vs time and food starts to impair me. So while I generally don’t carry when I’m going someplace I could be drinking, I have had a drink with dinner while I was carrying.

    Here’s another thought, I always carry a sharp knife on me, even when I’m drinking. I’ve never pulled it on someone while drinking. I’ll bet I’m not alone. But a knife is a very deadly weapon.

    It’s all about being responsible. Like Harry Callahan says, you’ve got to know your limitations.

    1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      Well put.

  36. avatar MIO says:

    Impairment with anything of lethal force is not a good idea. We have a gun range that serve alcohol as well. Once you go in to the area with the alcohol you can’t go back to the range side. That part is working.
    What isn’t working is folks drinking, leaving the range, then getting in their cars and driving and having guns.

  37. avatar raptor jesus says:

    One of the few things that IS legal in NYS.

    From a liability standpoint, probably shouldn’t drink to intoxication if you’re carrying – but at least my state lets me make that decision myself, even if it doesn’t think I can responsibly carry more than 10 rounds of ammo in a weapon at any given time.

  38. avatar ADM says:

    I’ve never had a drink while carrying, and while I’ve never knowingly been around anyone who *was* mixing the two, if I knew it was happening then I’d leave. What people decide to do, regardless of whether drinking while carrying is legal where I am or not, is their own business. Just as it’s my business to decide whether I want to be around that behavior or not. I’m not going to call the cops if I see it, but I’m not going to hang around and be there if/when someone else does. If I know I’m going out to drink, I’m not carrying–which, since I prefer to carry than to drink, more often than not makes me the DD. Which is fine.

    As is often said around here: avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. Drinking while carrying, especially in a bar as opposed to out in the woods with your friends, seems like a recipe for disaster. While there’s obvious truth to the fact that you need to know your own limitations, that’s a personal decision that only you can make. I might hypothetically trust myself to drink and carry, but consider the worst-case scenario: I drink, then later I’m party to a DGU. Whether I was actually “impaired” or not, the fact that I had alcohol in my system, however minute, is immediately a point against me in any potential consideration of whether my actions were justified. And isn’t that the reason we carry? To hope for the best, but prepare for the worst? I’m not going to make it easier for me to get reamed in court by doing anything to make my actions suspect. So even if I were confident that I could do so without impairment, I’m not going to court controversy by even trying.

    As for other people’s limits–I might know myself and what I can handle, but what do I know about Joe Blow over here open carrying and knocking back beers all night? Not a thing. He might be clearheaded all the while, or he might already be seeing double. And I’m not sticking around to find out.

  39. avatar Michael says:

    The right to defend one’s self should not be infringed by any circumstance. That being said it seems like a fair responsible firearms policy to simply make the penalties for Negligent Discharge go up sharply in severity past the “legal limit” whatever that may be for something like driving.

    In short you should always be allowed to defend yourself but extra scrutiny as to what “defend” consists of should be in place when regarding alcohol (no excuses for getting mad because someone bumped into you at a tailgate and drawing).

  40. avatar meadowsr says:

    Just out of curiosity, to those sticklers who say drinking and carrying should never mix…

    How about the policeman who just pulled a double shift and has been awake for 20 hours? What about an ER doc who just got off a 24 hour shift? Neither has had any alcohol during the duration of their job, but their lack of sleep has impaired them probably as much as several beers.

    1. avatar Toni says:

      i have done similar but worse. working as a security guard and moving house. worked friday night, moved house saturday night, worked saturday night, moved house sunday, worked sunday night then finally got to bed monday morning all with no rest and was riding a motorbike to and from work, yep fatigue can be easily just as bad as being drunk

  41. avatar Squiggy81 says:

    As with driving, I wouldn’t handle a firearm with more than two drinks. That’s my driving limit. During camping season, I’ll routinely go on an ATV ride with friends and have a beer at lunch and also do some plinking. I don’t see the harm as long as you’re not an idiot. After sitting around the campfire and I’ve had 3 or 4 beers, I’m plenty self aware enough to know that handling a firearm is not a good idea.

  42. avatar Mikial says:

    My wife and I don’t drink outside our home, so worrying about carrying outside the house while drinking isn’t an issue. But we both keep our guns close at hand in the evenings, even when we’re enjoying some party time.

    The real issue would arise if you had to use your gun in a defensive situation and you were over the BAC limit, in your home or out. Best practice? Don’t drink and drive or carry outside the home.

  43. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I don’t normally drink and carry. But having a one drink limit would seem ok, for most people.

    The Libertarians have said there’s nothing wrong with drinking and driving as long as you don’t hit anything even if you have 15 beers.

    Does the same logic apply that you can drink 15 beers and then fire your gun as long as your bullets don’t hit anything?????

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