A few days ago, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill into law that will allow gun owners to carry concealed firearms into bars and other places where alcohol is served. Now, at the risk of irritating my gun owning friends, I have to ask, how dumb is that? What could possibly go wrong?

Before you start flaming me, let me say that I support the right of citizens to carry a gun for self-defense. I am a lifelong gun owner, I have not one, but two concealed weapons permits from two different states, and I think of my handgun much like my MasterCard; I don’t leave home without it. I made that mistake a couple of years ago, if you will recall, and came home to find a burglar inside my motorhome, pointing my gun at me!

However, the Second Amendment aside, I just don’t think people have any business carrying a gun into a bar. The two most basic rules of firearms safety I know are 1) Assume every gun is loaded, and treat it as such, and 2) Guns and alcohol don’t mix. Ever!

I don’t care how well trained you are, or think you are. (And by the way, most of us are not as well trained as we believe we are.) I don’t care how much you argue that you have a right to be armed, it’s just poor judgment to go drinking with a gun. There have been many cases in the news where armed off duty cops did stupid things while out drinking. And even if you just quietly sit at the bar and mind your own business, what do you know about the guy sitting next to you. How sensible is he

Alcohol impairs our thoughts and judgment, and I believe a gun in the possession of an impaired person is just as dangerous as a car with an impaired person at the wheel. If you are going to a bar where you think there might be the kind of trouble where you would need a gun, stay the hell away from the place!

Somebody argued that even if you are not drinking, some guy who is drunk might start something that would have you wishing you were armed. Again, if you’re not in a place where drunks are getting rowdy, you won’t need the gun. Stay the hell away from the place! The best way to handle a dangerous situation is to not put yourself in it in the first place.

The most effective weapon any of us has is our brain.  Use it, and don’t go into a place armed where people are drinking and may get rowdy.

Carry your gun to the shopping mall. Carry it to a restaurant. Carry it to church if it makes you feel more comfortable. But do not carry a gun into a bar! End of story.

Okay, let the flaming begin!

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28 Comments on What Could Go Wrong?

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for the post, and thanks for generating discussion!

    No sane person is going to dispute your claim that a gun makes a terrible drinking buddy. It’s wrong on many levels.

    Your argument falls a bit limp however when you take “wrong” and decide it should be “against the law”. If someone commits a crime with the weapon, while impaired or not, that commission is indeed punishable regardless of the existence or non-existence of modified carry laws.

    Many things are “wrong”. It’s wrong to drive south if you’re going to see Santa, but making it illegal won’t make anything OK!

    Granted, there are grave errors of magnitude in my metaphor, but since we feel it necessary that some rights are “not to be infringed” we need to pick carefully as we trade away our permission to be responsible adults (read “freedom”). I enjoy the fact that you and I have the freedom to lock the side-arm in the car while we go to dinner.

    As we consider assaults on our gun rights an old Arab saying comes to mind: “Don’t ever let the camel get his nose in the tent”.

    I’m not sure we should trade freedoms for security. How ’bout you?

  2. Francis Callahan says:

    I also have a carry permit and have carried for about 40 years but always leave my gun in the car when going to a place that serves booze

  3. Palmsrv says:

    This is also part of the law:

    While the new law will greatly expand concealed carry rights, it does come with restrictions.

    A gun carrier cannot be drunk or drinking alcohol while at a place that serves alcohol. A violation of this rule is a fifth-degree felony and loss of concealed carry privileges.

    Also, business owners will be able to override the law by posting signs stating that firearms are not allowed.

  4. Trisha says:

    I support your right to bear arms, 100%. Having said that, I would never go ANYWHERE where I think there might be the kind of trouble where I would need a gun.

  5. I generally don’t feel that we need most laws beyond the basic ones that make it a crime to hurt other people, steal their property, etc. I also believe in the right to keep AND BEAR arms.

    That said, I do believe the government should be able to place reasonable limits on the exercise of our rights. I think a law against carrying a loaded weapon while intoxicated anywhere in public would be reasonable — similar to a DWI. However, a person who is sober should be able to carry into a bar. I don’t think the sober guy or gal should have their rights limited by being in a place where other people aren’t sober.

  6. Ken H says:

    Just like alcohol and driving don’t mix, I feel drinking and guns are not a good mix. I am not in doubt of my driving, I do not trust that others will observe the law as I will and do. For that reason, I ain’t gonna go to a bar with my carry. Again, not that I do not trust me, I do not trust other people.

  7. Rex says:

    If we make it illegal to carry a gun into a bar, what will the next place be that is made illegal – the grocery store where they sell booze, the State Fair?

    If someone violates the law with a gun while intoxicated, punish them to the full extent of the law, but don’t put restrictions on me because of what some drunken fool might do.

  8. Dave K says:

    Thanks Again Bad Nick for pointing out that “Common Sense” is the best action. The world is full of responsible people even if a minority [the Flamers] of the world thinks so.

  9. What about the poor bartenders and servers in the establishment? If they refuse a drunken patron any more drinks, who’s to say the idiot won’t pull out his gun in anger and shoot? (like the old west?) I would think that type of employment would a great risk if guns were allowed in bars.

  10. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy N.N.,

    Right on bro… The Wild West is GONE.. Drunks do stupid things

    like target practice on the ‘back-bar’.. Itz been shown in too

    many westerns and some drunks agonna do it…

    The ‘biker-barz’ are full of guns and a lot of shooting

    scrapes..

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes !!!!!!!

  11. Jim says:

    So, do you carry your gun into TGI Friday’s and the local BBQ place that sells beer when you go to lunch? If so you would have been a felon in Ohio before this law.

    I never drink and carry, even at home but unholstering in the parking lot so you can have lunch is more dangerous on a lot of levels then wearing it into the place that sells booze.

    I think you missed it on this one Nick, probably the first time I can remember finding fault.

  12. Jack Mayer says:

    You have some good points, Nick. In TX you can’t generally carry in a place that serves alchohol. My issue with this is I don’t drink. Yet I go to LOTS of restaurants that serve alcohol. Should I be restricted in my carry privledges? Maybe….Tough call on that one?

  13. Frank Serrao says:

    Nick: You have to at least read the law before you come out swinging against it. Palmsrv was correct in that the law states that you cannot be drunk or drinking alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon. That would be a felony under the law Gov. Kasich signed, not a free-for-all as you suggest. Part of the story changes the whole story completely when you take it out of context. Its like saying you stole a rope but did’nt tell us there was a cow at the end of it.

  14. JB says:

    Interesting conundrum, as a Canadian it is always interesting to me to hear the arguments for and against carrying a handgun anywhere. I am not disputing the fact that it is one of “your” basic rights, but I do think it is a little like carrying a sledge hammer with you at all times, just in case you find a post that needs driving, maybe a lot more trouble than it is worth. Granted that is a perspective from a person who lives in a relatively peaceful place, where carrying is frowned upon. Not saying that there aren’t likely some crooks carrying illegally but after almost 60 years of going unarmed, and exercising good judgement on where I go, I or none of my family have ever had occasion to wish we had been “bearing arms”.

    Don’t get me wrong, we own long guns and are lifelong hunters but that really is an entirely different proposal than carrying a handgun.

    Maybe not surprisingly though I agree with you on firearms and alcohol, they should not be in the same space. Laws are not made for responsible folk, just those people who missed on the common sense distribution.

  15. Bob Plaskon says:

    Nick, we need to clarify the change in the Ohio law. I have a CCH (carry concealed handgun) in the state of Ohio and the wording in the original law made it difficult to carry your handgun in a car unless awkward holster and visual requirements were met. The new law fixed that problem, however lawmakers can’t leave well enough alone! They added the part about going into establishments that sell and/or serve alcohol. Under the old wording, if I was purchasing gas at a convenience store that also sold beer, I would have to remove my handgun and lock it the glovebox before I could go in to pay. The new law fixed that also, but allows you to go into places that serve alcohol. You cannot drink any alcohol while carrying, period. Like anything in this world, some fools will probably break the law, however those same fools would probably have brought a gun in before the change! You can’t fix stupid.

  16. Allan says:

    I don’t think that the law was intended to encourage carrying a handgun into a bar where people go to get drunk. I do believe that the media likes to spin things like this. I believe the law was to relax the regulations to allow people to carry into restaurants that may serve alcohol. I tend to agree with Jim and Jack Mayer and even though I don’t drink and don’t frequent [bars] my wife and I do eat at restaurants that do serve alcohol occasionally. I generally do not carry but I would like to think that a person that did want to carry while in Applebees or TGIFridays would not be considered a felon for carrying while there. I do agree with you that alcohol and guns are not a good combination. I’m not for infringing on peoples rights unless there is a justifiable reason. It is a shame that we have to have so many laws because some people lack common sense.

  17. Dan T. says:

    Bullshit! The day you start giving up one right is the day you lose all of them! Today you don’t want us to carry guns in bars, tomorow its supermarlets, next week we have to have a passport to move between cities. Wake up America! This kind of thinking is exactly what got England, Canada, Russia, and every other socialist country where it is today!

  18. Leonard says:

    Dan T, people like you scare me. I think a better way to have worded the law was to allow people to carry a gun in a restaurant that serves alchohol, or a store that sells it, but to prohibit people from carring in an establishment who’s primary business is to sell alcohol to consume on premises (a bar).

  19. Bill Daines says:

    Another good one Nick. First I agree with use your brain and second alcohol does not mix with firearms. Third businesses who post no consealed weapons allowed should be honored.(this is on the rise)
    I dont know of any topic “containing firearms” to not get the dander up on some. And I for one know more firearms are being carried by individuals who do not talk about having the permit and are legal or have the permit under the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act.
    Like any thing else in life, know your surroundings and stay clear of areas that looke like you do need to carry for protection. Yes, I hear the right to carry, however you have a greater chance of a collision with a drunk driver than contact with a legal carry permit who is sober and not drinking.

    Some do not understand the liability one may be faced if the firearm is used even while having a carry permit. Thus common sense must be used “when and where to carry” Bill

  20. Pat and Jim says:

    Another Canadian here, we don’t have to be concerned about someone carrying because ghat is not allowed in Canada anywhere. Having said that a friend just retired from the Toronto police department and he tells me he only had his gun out twice in his career and never shot his gun outside of the firing range. Different world up here and contrary to popular belief we are not socialists.

  21. Dan T. says:

    You say you Canadians are not socialists but you are! You have socialized medicine, you can’t stay out of your country over 6 months and are required to go back, you have to answer to a prime minister, you can’t have handguns. Sure sounds like socialism to me!

  22. Don Mackenzie says:

    Dan T.
    As a Canadian, I do not make a judgement of your nations political system, and I do not think you are qualified to make a statement on what our political system is.

    Canada is a democratic country, with a universal health care system, which is far from free. We pay for it in our various taxes, and I consider it a universal prepaid system, and it works a heck of a lot better than Rush Lindberg says it does.

    Canada is a regulated democracy, but I bet if you compared our regulations with yours, you may be surprised to find out how much you are regulated. (Law and order in both nations.)

    I have visited the Great nation of USA numerous times, and have never felt the need to own or carry a hand gun.

  23. Bill says:

    Hey Dan T: Does this mean you won’t draw social security (or aren’t) since that is a form of socialism? And surely you won’t have any use for Medicare, right!? Good. That way the system will be more stable when people like you don’t participate, since after all that is socialism.

  24. Dale says:

    I do not think it is a good idea to leave a gun in your vehicle’s glove box. If your car were to be broken into or stolen, could you live with the idea that your gun could be used to commit a crime or perhaps injure or murder someone?

    Our son is an LEO and if a cop does that and the gun is stolen, he or she loses 30 days pay.

    As has been mentioned, being a gun owner is a big responsibility. Please always think about others.

  25. AL says:

    Rules or no rules, laws or no laws, I couldn’t agree with you more. As a recovering Alcoholic I spent a fair few years in the world of alcohol, bars & hotels & can attest to the sheer stupidy of mixing booze & guns or weapons of any kind. Geeeeezzzz, it’s a no brainer!!

  26. Well, hubby and I are also gun owners and I AGREE with Everything you’ve said! No Guns and booze…they simple do Not mix!

  27. J. Darwin Soder says:

    You’re right on Nick. I have a CCW permit from FL and I think the “gun nuts” are going too far when they advocate “stand your ground” and open carry. Did you hear that it’s legal for anyone to carry an unconcealed handgun in FL if you are enroute on a Camping trip? Same rule if you are hunting or fishing. I believe handguns should be concealed at any public gathering.

  28. jdunmyer says:

    Here in Michigan, we’ve allowed CCW in restaurants that serve alcohol for several years now. Same as Ohio, you cannot drink while carrying. There have been no problems.

    These “no carry” zones are stupid, IMO. If I’m trusted to carry a weapon “here”, there is no reason in the world to disallow it “there”. When Michigan’s law was under consideration, some wanted to disallow CCW in libraries. They did in fact disallow carrying in churches. It makes no sense to me.

    FWIW: I never, ever leave the house w/o my pistol in my pocket. Just like my fire extinguishers: they’re always handy, even though I’ve never had a fire and am real careful so as to not have it happen.

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