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Once I received my Concealed Handgun License, I felt as if I could take care of most situations life might throw at me. Except one. As a working musician, I often find myself in situations that are just ripe for trouble, and there’s not a thing I can do about it, namely, being around the back alley of a downtown bar, late at night/early in the morning, loading pricey musical gear without many people around. Can you say “easy target”? Yep. And the irony is, the one place I need to cary the most is the one place I can’t. In Texas (and for that matter, in most states with a conceal carry law on the books) one big cut-out is that you can’t carry in bars and places that get more than 50% of their income from the sale of adult beverages. Even if you don’t drink. Ohio is on the list of states that’s trying to change that. But they’ve hit a snag…

You see, the law says you can’t drink and carry. And I’m down with that. In a major way. Doesn’t really matter to me – I don’t drink much at all. I can take it or leave it (mostly leave it) so it’s not as if I feel like I’m missing out. And I never drink when I play music. So changing the law to allow for CHL holders to carry in bars would make perfect sense for someone like me, who is, by necessity, in situations where I may be putting myself in harm’s way.

Too, I’ve always worried about ANY ‘gun-free’ zone, because the very people I’d worry about shooting up the joint are the same kind of people who would ignore that kind of ban anyway. And it’s not like they wand you down or make you walk through a metal detector as you enter a club. That law would only kick in if you get caught.

Of course, I’m a law-abiding citizen. I play by the rules. And if the rules say “don’t carry in bars,” then I don’t carry in bars. But I would, if it were legal.

In December, Ohio state Representative Danny Bubp had a massive amount of support for such legislation in the state House – enough so he could muster the votes to get the bill out of committee against the wishes of the Democrat majority. Sadly, the bill failed because the then-Speaker of the House (a Democrat) sent the members home before a vote could be taken.

Fast-forward to today, and and the GOP enjoys a 59-40 majority in the Buckeye State, along with a new, Republican Governor. And the Senate has already passed a similar bill in their chamber. So what’s the holdup?

Apparently, it’s the Ohio Restaurant Association. While supporters of the bill see it as a way to increase safety, restauranteurs and bar owners evidently see it as a way to increase the likelihood of violence in their establishments.

So at this moment, the House is at an impasse. Bubp is still trying, and hopes to get the bill through after the Spring recess. Will common sense prevail? Too soon to tell. But I can tell you this. I wish they’d get that law on the books where I live.

If forced to choose between “Go in unarmed and hope the bad guys obey the law (and nobody mugs me outside the bar in the alley)” and “Go in carrying concealed, secure in the knowledge that the odds are against some bad guy pulling a gun on me,” I’ll take option #2 every day of the week.

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  1. Effectively what the restaurant association is asking for is that everyone else’s restaurant be forced to ban carry–since the law would allow any restaurant owner to ban guns at his own restaurant, with legal penalties and not just civil trespass.

  2. At least the Ohio Senate could find their gonads. You can send a nasty-gram to the The Ohio Restaurant Association Director of Government Affairs Richard Mason –
    [email protected]

    I informed Mr. Mason that I would be boycotting his members (liquor license or not) until the Association adopted a neutral stance on a law that allows his members to make a choice. In conjunction with that I reached out to the ORA eateries where I know the management, and let them know they would see me when this problem was fixed – one friend said it sounded like the perfect reason to drop their membership.

    While I was at it I also called Bill Batchelder (he is my local congress dude who likes to take my money) and told him to kick his members in the pants and get this done! Bad enough to have that moron Budish submarine this deal with with enough votes to pass and the Dems in the majority. The House caucus needs to walk to the other end of the Capital and borrow a few sets, apparently they left theirs at home…

    Part of the way we win these fights is to scream louder that the hoplophobes. I say keep yelling!

  3. There’s a simple solution to any owner who won’t let you carry in their restaurant, don’t give them your money and be sure to tell them why you’ll never eat there.

  4. Like most Gun Control types the ROA just wants it to be someone else’s fault, if the “government” makes the decision then they are not “allowed” to have a say in how they run their own business. “I’m not against you having a gun, it’s not my fault you can’t carry it in here” and “I’m sorry your gun got stolen out of your car in my parking lot but it’s the “law” and it’s “not my fault”. Under the proposed law a simple sign on the door would prohibit guns in anyones business but then they would not be able to say it’s Not My Fault

    Just like they say they want to feel SAFE but they don’t want to accept the responsibility of doing anything themselves. I don’t want to be assualted, robbed, raped, shot, killed, I want you to do something so I don’t have to but if something bad happens to me it won’t be MY fault, you just didn’t do enough.

  5. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, located adjacent the State of Ohio, has no such firearms restrictions in its laws. A person may lawfully carry, either openly or concealed, in a bar, restaurant or similar such facility. A person lawfully carrying a firearm may even partake of the liquid refreshments offered by the establishment.

    Concerning carrying, especially openly carrying, of course the establishment would be well within its rights to prohibit such persons from entering, but that’s their decision, not the government’s. Concerning drinking while carrying, such may or may not be a wise thing to do, depending on the quantity (and quality?) of liquids so imbibed. But again, that’s an individual’s decision, not the government’s.

    With approximately one out of every twenty adults in Pennsylvania licensed to carry a firearm concealed, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appears not to have any issues with this nonexistent problem. Perhaps the good citizens of Ohio, and their drinking and eating establishments, are somehow different from their brethren across the border to the East?

    • As an out of state (California) resident I sat for my Utah concealed carry permit yesterday all four hours worth of it. Their basic rule is that you can carry in any establishment except a church that has posted the ban or an individual’s home who’s told you not to concealed carry. I think it’s time that we all a started nationwide movement to get Utah’s concealed carry law adopted in all of the States of the Union.


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