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The editorial board at doesn’t like the idea of West Virginians with a concealed carry permit exercising their Second Amendment rights at a restaurant. Any restaurant. “We have been staunch supporters of Second Amendment rights for many years – but that does not require abandoning all common sense.” A certain Mr. Thomas Paine must be rolling over in his grave. The gun control movement continues to usurp the title of his pamphlet arguing against tyranny to argue for tyranny. Shouldn’t West Virginia’s restaurant owners, upon who private property their establishment sits, be the arbiters of whether or not their patrons are permitted to pack heat? Apparently not, because . . .

Law enforcement officials don’t like the idea. Guns and intoxication don’t mix, they point out. They are right on target. Alcohol loosens inhibitions and impairs good judgment. And, as responsible gun owners know, even mild intoxication limits the ability of shooters to place a bullet where they aim.

Even many restaurant owners oppose the bill. They don’t want patrons to worry about whether the fellow who’s had too much wine with dinner may be a threat to their safety.

There is a familiar theme here: infantilization. Gun owners are children who must be protected from themselves. For their good and the good of society. It’s a profoundly elitist perspective that’s fundamentally dangerous to the health and well-being of a free society.

This “Nanny State” thinking extends to the argument itself. Notice that “many restaurant owners oppose the bill.” Not “most” or “a majority” or “51.7 percent.” The writer wishes to marshal a “force of numbers” argument without deigning to provide those numbers. He could have said “many intelligent owners oppose the bill,” but then readers would see the condescension behind the curtain.

Nor does the writer mention the fact that under the bills, restaurant owners would remain free to prohibit concealed carry customers. Which is, to be fair, a bit of a conundrum. How can you ban something you can’t see? While expensive to implement, any such optional ban would be no more effective than . . . the current state of affairs. Huh.

Supporters of the measure say it would not allow those carrying guns to be served alcohol in bars and restaurants. Just how are waiters and bartenders supposed to enforce that? Remember, we’re talking about concealed carrying of firearms.

Good point. So why is that provision in the bill? It’s nothing more than more gun control theater: a meaningless sop to the bills’ opponents that actually weakens the central argument for lifting the ban: we are not children. We are not a nation of children. We expect each individual to take personal responsibility for his or her actions.

You want common sense? Why isn’t it a crime to carry a loaded weapon while intoxicated in West Virginia?

[FYI: the following states do not have a law specifically prohibiting carrying a loaded weapon while intoxicated: Alabama, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia.]

I’m not saying that I’m 100 percent down with such a law. Libertarian that I am, I reckon intoxication is best left as an add-on charge to another infraction—to prevent the jack-booted practice of sobriety-checking road blocks.

Can I imagine cops searching customers as they emerge from a restaurant or restaurant district to ensure that none of them are carrying a gun while intoxicated? I can. And I don’t like it.

In any case, West Virginia’s motto is Montani Semper Liberi (Mountains Always Free) not Mater Cogito Primus (Mother knows best).

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  1. The owners have the right to decide if they want you to carry in their restaurant, and we have to right to eat somewhere else.

  2. Here in Florida it is not illegal to consume alcohol while carrying. The standard is, quite logically, the same as drinking and driving. If you are impaired you better not USE your car or your gun

    You may NOT go to a bar or sit in the bar area of a restaurant while carrying. However, if in the restaurant area, you may consume alcohol while dining while carrying. USING your firearm while under the influence (same standard as drinking and driving) is a crime. BUT there is an important exception for LAWFUL SELF/THIRD PARTY DEFENSE. Even if you are legally intoxicated you have the right of self/third-party defense.

    However, if you shoot you had better be on the side of the angels if you do.

    All in all, with the exception of open carry Florida has some pretty logical firearms laws for the most part. The open carry matter is being addressed this month in the legislature and hopefully one of these days we’ll see some more intelligent rules on the places “off-limits” but that’s a fight for another day.

    • “The standard is, quite logically, the same as drinking and driving. If you are impaired you better not USE your car or your gun.”

      Maybe Florida is different, but in some states, if you are drunk and even SIT in your car with the keys not locked in the trunk or something, they can bust you for drunk driving. (Yes, it’s dumb.) So being able to carry a gun while intoxicated might not fit well in those states.

  3. As screwed up as Pennsylvania is, their approach towards private ownership of guns is reasonable when compared to most other states. Especially any state surrounding us in the northeast.

    It drives Philadelphia nuts, they are forever trying to write their own little version of state gun laws just for the city. The rest of PA stands by ready to spank them every time they do.

    One more thing, is it official now that whenever we see the two words common and sense used together in a sentence that it’s reasonable to assume there’s some gun grabbin’ going on?

  4. Whener I read something like “we have been staunch supporters of Second Amendment rights for many years – but that does not require abandoning all common sense,” I reach out to protect my Smith and Wesson and my wallet. It’s really just code for “gun owners, you’re about to be cornholed.”

  5. John, it’s just when you see it as one word: “commonsense” that you know the Brady Bunch is nearby.

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