I’m going to be blunt: I’ve consumed alcohol while carrying. I have no qualms about doing so. I will continue to do so, wherever legal. Whenever I bring up my take on drinking and carrying, I get sneers. “It’s against the law! You’re going to go to jail! You should drink Coke or iced-tea!” The first two statements are patently false (at least in Texas) and the last statement elicits a proxied scolding from my retired CIO father; “You don’t have a soft-drink when you go out to dinner! What are you, twelve?” I am also convinced that whenever I break proper decorum, Letitia Baldrige rolls in her grave . . .
When I go out for oysters on the half shell and steak, I order a Stella Artois. It compliments my food, it doesn’t inebriate my mood. While some may begrudge my taste in alcohol – and to those who do, I will gladly debate the merits of my choice in beverage – others will lambaste me for the simple fact that I would even consider consuming alcohol whilst carrying a gun.
For some reason, a portion of the pro-gun community changes from Carry Nation to Carrie Nation whenever someone so much as hints at taking a sip of alcohol and legally packing. All sorts of “facts” are spouted with very little truth to back them up. It reminds me of the lies told by the temperance movement. “A sip of alcohol turns a man into a feeble-minded idiot,” becomes, “A sip of alcohol turns a Person of the Gun into Charles Whitman”.
The automated response of “Guns and Alcohol Don’t Mix!” needs to go away. It’s antiquated teetotaler dogma. Not everyone who consumes alcohol is looking to get drunk. Consuming alcohol in moderation while eating a meal or having a social drink does not significantly impair one’s motor skills nor does it sufficiently changes one’s disposition to the point that they need to be disarmed.
By now, a percentage of readers are either Googling or have already Googled the laws concerning alcohol consumption and carry in Texas because they’re certain that I’m in violation of the law. Their CHL instructor probably told them that consumption of alcohol and CCW was against state statute. Except it isn’t and your instructor injected their personal opinion into the class instead of giving you the facts. Let me save you the work:
For those of you who want the full definition of intoxicated, click here:
The law states that if you are drunk or acting like a drunk, you are in violation. If you act like a drunken ass with a firearm, you get treated like a drunken ass with a firearm. The laws regarding carry and alcohol obviously differ from state to state. Some state laws concerning guns and alcohol would make the dry politicians of the 1920s weep with joy. Thankfully, complete prohibition of alcohol consumption and handgun carry is not the law in Texas.
Nevertheless, the letter of the law will not stop some from interjecting their absolute moral certainty into a situation. A legal matter now becomes a personal one. In my experience, those arguing against carrying while consuming like to bring up familial stories in the hopes of guilting me into supporting their wrong opinion. Usually, it’s about grandpa being a habitual drunkard and shooting himself or a cousin who was jilted by their lover- and also a drunkard- shooting someone who had done them wrong. Sometimes I’ll get the rare bird, who will acquiesce. “Well, drinking while dining is one thing, but you should never carry a gun into a bar.” Oh really?
Maybe Austin’s live music scene has altered my perception, but one can go to a bar for something other than the alcohol. Also, you don’t have to get drunk at a bar. An individual can control their actions. Unbridled hedonism doesn’t have to be the ultimate Friday night pursuit, though it can be and for many walking down Austin’s beloved 6th street on any given night, it frequently is. Bully for them.
My issue is that the law was written as a one-size-fits-all solution. I don’t go out to get drunk, why should I be treated like a frat boy on his 21st birthday? I have self-control. Drinking alcohol is not the same as “getting drunk.” As it stands, I will have to keep my eyes peeled for the 51% signs, because according to some, carrying while in the presence of abundant alcohol necessitates drinking all of it until I’m in a stupor.
What it comes down to is another case of, “I support the Second Amendment but….” Your right to defend yourself does not end just because you imbibe alcohol or frequent a place where others imbibe.