By Michael in GA
As I sit here, pistol on my hip, home carrying, thinking random thoughts related to guns, trying to draw inspiration to pen an article for my faceless friends, readers of TTAG, wearing out my comma key, taking Dan’s advice by pouring two fingers of Walking Stick (Peligroso Añejo in my case and I don’t smoke…often), the obvious topic came to mind – alcohol and guns don’t mix! It’s not my belief. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe anyone should get so soused as to not be able to handle themselves. But there is a consensus among people of the gun that says, when the cap comes off the bottle, the gun should be out of reach . . .
This is not a new subject. Neither are caliber wars, but that doesn’t stop another author or YouTube expert from contributing their personal opinion on the matter. The topic of alcohol and guns is, however, acrimonious. An article dedicated to the best man-stopper chambering for a hand gun will no doubt inspire several dozen expressed opinions.
But witness the rare 200+ comments following articles such as this fine piece by Michael Holderer. Most seem to be measured responses, whereas this counterpoint article on another gun site brought out the righteous indignation of their following.
I observed an officer walk in and start to enjoy some social time with friends and family. I noticed he was open carrying, which is perfectly legal for an officer in the state of Florida. As a few minutes go by, and I see the officer (whom, as of right now, is unidentified) enjoying an adult beverage. Again, not illegal, but NOT what I would expect from a police officer, or ANYONE for that matter. Especially while openly carrying AND representing their department.
That could have been fueled by cop hate, but I took it as freedom hate, or more accurately, freedom fear.
Allow myself to introduce…myself. I am a drinker. I am a gun owner, but more importantly, I am a gun toter. If I am on my feet wearing pants and on the free side of a metal detector, I am strapped. That’s never going to change, by choice. If I followed the advice of the pearl-clutching wing of the internet gun community, I would have to give up alcohol altogether. I don’t see that happening any time soon. They keep making more.
When I say I am a drinker, it means I drink at least one beer every day. Most days, I have at least one drink with every meal. On the weekends even breakfast isn’t devoid of a complimentary rum and OJ or bourbon and coffee. I usually have a drink after work.
Honestly, given the choice, I would drink all day. What I do not do is binge drink. I can’t remember the last time I was drunk. Have I been over the legal limit (0.08 BAC)? I wouldn’t doubt it. But when I start approaching inebriation, I really lose interest in drinking and just want to take a nap. Or go streaking through the quad to burn off a couple points. And in that case, no pants. See above.
For me, responsible drinking means pace. I am very active and besides sitting for a meal and drinking, I am usually working in the yard, swimming and diving in the pool, playing lawn games or cooking out while drinking. I find that I burn alcohol almost as fast as I consume it.
This means that at the end of a 12 hour day, I can have gone through most of a twelve pack of Sweetwater IPA, had a shot of Woodford Reserve in my morning Joe, complemented beef tenderloin with a glass of Barefoot Pinot Noir and still be under 0.05 BAC. These numbers have not been substantiated, however, going by the rule of thumb that one drink per hour raises BAC 0.02 points for an average size person and being 6’2″ 209 lbs, coupled with about the same degree of burn-off, I think I am in the ballpark.
In the above not-so-extreme example of my Saturday, what would you have me do with my pistol? What’s the point of locking it up? If I’m untrustworthy with it on my hip, what’s to keep me from being irresponsible and going to get the gun anyway?
What if after the wine and filet, I take the wifey out to the movies? I’ll be damned if I ever set foot in a kill zone without packing heat for any reason. Drinking being one reason that I won’t even contemplate as an excuse to go disarmed. Gun-free zone signs don’t concern me either. The only thing that would, and has kept me out of an establishment while carrying is a search of my person, i.e. metal detectors.
So, do alcohol and firearms mix? Only if you can handle either one independently. What I mean by that is, if you are irresponsible with a gun (see examples of that from sober individuals on this site all the time) then alcohol is merely fuel on the fire. Or, if you can’t control your pace of intake vs. metabolism to the point where you most likely wind up bowing at the alter of the porcelain God, you might need to avoid potentially destructive devices.
My view on that is you need to get help with your drinking problem regardless of gun possession. The point is, as Harry Callahan would say “Man’s got to know his limitations.” So I submit this random act of discourse as one man’s opinion that responsibility is as responsibility does. And of course, YMMV.
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