guns in bars, or ZOMG weesa gonna die!

If there’s one thing I can’t stand in a debate, it’s the tendency to toss out an emotional argument for one side of an issue, and then flat-out refusing to acknowledge that the other side may have a valid point or two as well.

Ohio has passed a reform of its concealed carry laws that allows permit holders to carry their legal guns into establishments that have Class D liquor licenses. Predictably, the people opposing that legislation are calling it the “Guns in Bars” law, to invoke mental images of drunken yahoos having a shoot-out over a ball game score or a sideways glance in a sports bar.

The main reason why gun rights organizations push for such laws has nothing to do with bars. (In fact, even with the new Ohio law, it will remain a felony to drink alcohol at those establishments while armed.) Those laws just make it legal for a permit holder to stay armed while eating at a restaurant (most of which have on-premises hooch licenses), or merely walking into an establishment that has a liquor license. That includes bars, technically speaking, but the intent and scope of the law precludes people getting legally tanked at Big Ed’s Sports Bar while strapped. Those laws just mean that Joe Permit doesn’t have to disarm and leave his gun in the car while eating at Chili’s. It keeps everyone safer because it eliminates gun handling in the parking lot, it doesn’t require a firearm to be left unattended in a semi-public space, and it doesn’t give criminals an obvious target for theft or robbery. (As for the “this will cost a life” argument–I know of at least one well-documented case where a permit holder died because he complied with the law and disarmed, only to be mugged and killed in the parking lot on the way back to his car. That argument cuts both ways.) I repeat: it remains a felony in Ohio to drink in those establishments while toting a gun, and will result in loss of carry rights and imprisonment. Also, the law has a provision for any business to opt out by posting a “No Guns” sign at the door.

Now, the argument that such laws will cost lives and increase deadly confrontations at bars is not supported by the evidence. Many states with legal concealed carry have laws that allow the carrying of guns in places that serve liquor. Some of them, like my own home state of New Hampshire, don’t even specify that CCW holders can’t drink while armed. And yet we make it through life without drunks gunning each other down in the bars and taverns of the Granite State over hockey or baseball scores every weekend. I can go down to the bar in town and legally have five beers and a martini while packing a gun. (Why don’t I do that? Because I have the sense to not intentionally make myself impaired while carrying a firearm–and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have the sense to check or care about the law before I head down to the old watering hole.) Ohio’s law is way more restrictive, so why would you assume that this will be a problem, unless you think Ohioans as a whole are much less responsible and more violence-prone than New Hampshireites?

It’s a patently condescending and classist argument because it assumes that other people can’t act in a smart way (especially those low-brow, Budweiser-swilling, conservative gun-toting rednecks), and that the only people who want to legally carry guns are invariably uneducated, violent morons who just don’t have the good judgment to not drink and tote in public, and to not shoot their seat neighbor when they’re pissed off. (As if anyone prone to that kind of behavior is going to give two shits about the legality of the pistol in his waistband any more than he does about the fact that shooting people dead is illegal outside of legitimate self-defense.) 

I just don’t get how you can call yourself an educated, open-minded person when you’re perfectly willing to boil down an argument to the least honest, most emotional, most willfully misleading implication of the law while completely ignoring the other side of the debate…just because you disagree with the law in question.


39 thoughts on “guns in bars, or ZOMG weesa gonna die!

  1. Very cogent examination of this law reform. You make it make sense. I just pray someone doesn’t screw it up. Wonder what Scalzi’s take on this will be.

  2. But, but, but… Ohioans are so much different than those uber-responsible Pennsylvanians. The Honest, Sober, and Upright Pennsylvanians right next door can drink and carry (Concealed or Open), but Ohioans are too stupid to be in close proximity to both guns and beer at the same time.

  3. So anti-gunners are Jar Jar Binks.

    That explains so much!

  4. Lanius says:

    So, they have to pass a bill to make legal something that’s already legal and unremarkable in a lot of places..
    I don’t get it. Why shouldn’t a CCW make it possible to carry anywhere, except courthouses and the like. Why are there even laws that prohibit carrying in bars? Was there a rash of bar shooting in the past or what?

    The place where I live only restricts carrying guns to mass affairs such as fairs, demonstrations, obviously to courthouses, or drinking while carrying. Which I think is excessive.. a beer or three just makes me mellow and less intense.

  5. TBeck says:

    I would find it very difficult not to shoot the potted ferns.

  6. Mark Alger says:

    An attorney who also happens to be on talk radio in morning drive in Ohio was heard wondering what liability bar and restaurant owners are opening themselves up to by posting a “no guns” sign at the door to their establishment. A reasonable question, I think.


  7. Evan Price says:

    I’m a Coordinator and the forum Moderator for Ohioans For Concealed Carry. We’ve worked pretty hard to get this passed. From the beginning the liberal media has spun it as “Guns in Bars!!!!” when the entire intent and purpose was “Guns in Restaurants”. We worked hard with the Fraternal Order of Police to get the law changed to allow police officers to be carrying guns while drinking in bars- because even off-duty, many LEOs are required to carry pistols at all times and the law as written then did not allow it. After going to bat for the FOP on this issue- and winning- the FOP turned around and stabbed us in the back by doing their utmost to prevent this bill- allowing law abiding citizens to carry their lawfully carried CCW pistols in an establishment with a Class D liqour license– even when NOT drinking– from even seeing the light of day, let alone passing.
    Ohio’s law allows property owners to post that they do not allow weapons in their businesses but this is a misdemeanor offence at the present time akin to a trespassing charge, if you fail to leave the premises upon discovering there is such a sign. Since there is no uniform signeage requirement in the Revised Code, it’s pretty easy to miss seeing some of the signs, especially if you don’t spend a lot of time looking.

  8. mtcoalhopper says:

    There is some irony in the fact that anti-gun folk are usually devout believers in evolution. Why aren’t they taking a Darwinian viewpoint on this issue? The inbred rednecks gather together, drink excessively, and then kill each other in a bar fight. Wouldn’t that solve the far-left’s problem by allowing conservatives to eliminate themselves?

    I am also a believer in the positive side of the “Wild West” image: You do not try to rob — or generally start a ruckus in — an establishment where every person may be packing heat. That story would not end well for anyone so stupid. Thus, a business which allows its patrons to carry concealed weapons is _less_ likely to have problems.

  9. phillytyper says:

    Call me crazy. But I feel threatened when people are carrying baseball bats, or knives, or guns in a bar.

    It makes me wonder about them.

    Secondly, sure I agree that many people can handle walking around with a gun on their hip and they will act the same as if they didn’t, maybe better.

    But many people might not. Er, I know they don’t because I see how police sometimes act, even after training.

    You can argue that having a handgun or a 250 horsepower car will just make you more careful. I hear that one a lot from people who want to ride racebikes with no helmet at 125.

    I dunno, I agree with Clint: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

    Speaking frankly, I think most people’s limitations include not knowing when, how, or who to shoot at when everything goes to heck.

    Of course, I’m only basing this on living in the city all my life, and being around all sorts of dang crimes.

    (group assault, assault, attempted rape, store robbery, robbery, burglary, attempted bike theft, break and enter, subway riot, etc. etc.)

    Amazingly, I have never given up a nickel. I have personally grabbed up people and held them for the cops at least 6 times. I’m still alive. And I still don’t want a gun, as in all of the above, after much thought, I can’t decide which of the above would have been resolved more quickly if I had a handgun, whether concealed or open carry.

    (hmmm in one of the above, a running chainsaw might probably have been just about perfect, but geez, those things are heavy.)

    One of the biggest obstacles to my getting involved as a citizen these days is worrying that someone is going to start pulling the trigger.

    –Michael McGettigan

    • Kristopher says:

      Not your decision to make for others, phillytyper.

      I’ve been in similar situations myself … and all of them were shut down immediately by my drawing a pistol.

      I’m too old to take an ass-whuppin’, and I am not going to disarm just to make you feel safer. If you fear your fellow citizens so much, then perhaps it is a good thing that you do not “get involved”.

      A person’s notions on firearms rights are like a political vulcan mind meld … they tell you instantly how much that person trusts others, or how much he projects his own instabilities on others.

  10. Tam says:

    Meanwhile, in neighboring Indiana, where it’s been legal to take your heater into a bar and drink since… well, since the 21st Amendment took effect, another day passes without blood flowing in the taverns.

    I doubt that Buckeyes differ that much from Hoosiers, at least genetically speaking, and so I predict the results will be similar.

    But don’t let that prevent a howling media panic!

    Anyhow, I gotta run. I need to go get in a shootout over a parking space.

  11. Samuel Weaver says:

    In TN last year they called it the Guns in Bars bill too. It passed anyway.

  12. Will says:


    re-read that last paragraph of Marko’s. It has your name all over it.

    Yep, bullshit emotional appeals. For instance, you will not be allowed on any racetrack without a helmet (checked by tech inspectors and properly fastened), no matter what size bike or horsepower.

    When I hear people talk about guns like you do, they almost always end up stating that they would not own a gun because they would end up shooting someone over an argument. They always turn out to be a liberal. And, because they think most people think/feel the same way as they do, they want to restrict guns for everyone. You don’t trust your self control, so you don’t trust anyone else. That self evaluation is normally the only honest thing that ever comes out of the mouth of a liberal. Everything else is fantasy, lunacy, or deliberate lies.


  13. phillytyper says:

    Ah, well… I spoke from my experience, opinions, observations and yes, wow, even had some emotions in there. In my experience, humans and life are very much governed by emotions. I don’t think emotions and truth are incompatible.

    And phrases like,”They always turn out to be a liberal”… “the only honest thing that ever comes out of the mouth of a liberal…” and “Everything else is fantasy, lunacy or deliberate lies…” tells me almost nothing about the argument, and much about the arguer.

    And finally, I wasn’t talking about racetracks, any more than I was talking about shooting ranges or nunneries.

    most sincerely,
    –Mike McGettigan Philadelphia

  14. Larry says:

    We have the same issue here in NC, hopefully our bill will be appearing for a vote soon. Yes, the usual suspects are accusing us of wanting to arm drunks regardless of the fact that carrying while having any trace of alcohol in you would still be illegal. Meanwhile I can’t go get a meal at many establishments because they sell alcohol.
    At least the ice cream at the Sonic is good.

  15. @Larry: The latest on HB111, NC’s Guns in BARS OMGWTFBBQ! is that it will be held over until next year’s short session. Because it passed before crossover week, it is still live in the Senate.

    We’ll just have to eat at the Golden Trough…er… Corral.

  16. Blackwing1 says:


    It’s your personal decision to make as to whether or not you are mentally stable enough to carry a firearm, and whether or not you are physically able enough to defend yourself with CQB. You appear to be fortunate in your stature and physical capabilitie. You’ve also been incredibly lucky in your encounters…you’re still breathing.

    For myself, I’m too old and out-of-shape from 30 years of desk-work to go back to hand-to-hand training. That, and a not-self-evident handicap prevent me from attempting to defend myself with bare hands (that plate and four bolts in my neck aren’t all that readily apparent without an x-ray). But other folks aren’t as lucky as I am…they’re physically small (most, but not all, women, for example) and have nowhere near as much upper-body strength as a typical male in good shape. Or we’re handicapped by other physical problems.

    Since I can’t run as fast as a predatory 19-year-old “child” (as “child” is defined by the Brady Bunch), I haven’t got a lot of alternatives to a firearm if a predator puts me in immediate danger of death or grave bodily injury.

    Yet folks with your miindset would happily remove from me the only viable means of self-defense left to me.

    Which leaves me with a question…why do you hate older people, the handicapped, and women so much that you’re willing to leave us completely defenseless to predators?

    A world without small self-defense firearms, readily and legally carried, is a world in which the application of brute force (say, a club, or bare fists) wins.

  17. trophybiker says:

    Er, I guess that’s why Mexico is such a safe place to be right about now.

    A hand gun is most useful in the hands of a natural-born killer. (er, and yes, I know that such people exist–classify that statement as liberal or conservative !)… and at the same time, it’s almost useless in the hands of some people. You may read that as some/all/most. You may even agree that it’s most–I find that hand gun owners (like male drivers) tend to believe they are above average in judgement and thus qualified to carry.

    That group that can’t hack hand guns includes some of the people I care about the most. And since I know them, that’s why I am making that statement. I really don’t think they can draw a bead and put one in the center mass of another person at the proper time.

    That doesn’t include me. As someone who rides a bicycle in traffic daily, I know a little bit about force versus finesse, and frankly, I think I could become a handgun person easily–as far as the craft is concerned. They’re fascinating little machines, I could learn the laws, and spend the range time. I have no illusions about some people’s intentions. I do have rafts of prejudices and fears that make my judgements less than reliable under stress–in my opinion. Though apparently, their are people who know more about what I think then I do, and I can’t wait for them to let me know what I am really thinking and how deluded I am.

    I realize that’s not the case with hand gun owners. They’ve reached some sort of plateau of wisdom where they see everything clearly, and know just what they’d do if things, er, went down.

    But spending $479.50 on a piece, $200 on classes and X hours training wouldn’t solve my security problems, or the problems that face my wife, my kid, my friends, the school teachers I know, etc. –Unless, I quit my job and just loiter around all these people I care about, waiting for incivility, smug in the knowledge that my visible holster was keeping everyone lovey-dovey.

    But geez, that’s time-consuming, and what if my kid goes one way, and my wife goes another? What if I really really want to drink that third Saison? Do I find a Designated Carrier? Deputize my son? Stuff a fake gun in the holster that evening–since it’s just the magic sight of the gun that keeps things correct, right?

    Or say I am stone-cold sober all the time, and finally, the textbook right situation presents itself. Do I show what I am made of–or what I’ve become?

    Not to bring up inconvenient truths, but a number of studies showed an interesting issue with soldiers in war. Most had a very difficult time aiming directly at a person and pulling the trigger. Of course, there is the opposite effect–those who get a taste for pulling the trigger, but that’s not relevant here.

    In most cities, something other than brute force keeps it all together. I know in Philadelphia, it’s not about handgun display–there’s something else–eh, Brotherly Love, maybe? But handgun, er, aficionados–don’t believe in that something. They believe humans are base savages that must be kept in line by the sight of the whip, by death on the hip.

    I am reminded of a speech by Winston Churchill… It began, “What is civilization? Simply, rule by civilians, not warlords… ” went on from there and made some interesting points about force and its applications.

    Somebody, referring back to my deeds of need, said I was incredibly lucky. Yup–incredibly lucky that no one had a gun–including me.

    — “Lucky” Mike McGettigan, Philadelphia

    • Marko Kloos says:


      the “smug” preening doesn’t happen, you know. My handgun is concealed, and nobody ever sees it. You live in PA, which is a right-to-carry state, and I guarantee you pass dozens of legally armed people every day without even knowing. (I also guarantee that for each legally armed person with a permit, you pass three criminals that carry illegally because they don’t care about the law.) Funny you should bring up Mexico to buttress your argument–the gun laws there are incredibly strict, and the average citizen can neither own nor carry a gun legally.

      Look–I don’t carry because I believe that “humans are base savages”. I carry because while I believe that most people are good at heart, I know that some people aren’t, and I find the stakes more bothersome than the odds.

      And which one of us holds his fellow citizens in lower regard? You’re so distrusting and afraid of the average Joe on the street that you want to see *everyone* disarmed.

      In the end, as long as you’re willing to rely on others for your safety, you’re not really anti-gun. You’re just willing to outsource the job to a guy with a tin badge and a shitty salary, expecting him to risk his neck for you–and kill on your behalf if needed. But that’s not the thing I find most grating about your attitude. Most annoying to me is your implication that your choice is the morally superior one, and that none of my reasons for carrying a gun could possibly outweigh your reasons for *not* carrying one. You don’t know my circumstances, environment, mindset, mental disposition, or education, but you know that my choice is wrong, wrong, wrong, because it’s one you’d *never* make. Now *that’s* smugness.

    • Mike W. says:

      “They believe humans are base savages that must be kept in line by the sight of the whip, by death on the hip.”

      Some humans (a small subset) are base savages, which is why I carry a gun. I CCW in your city of Philadelphia BTW, since I have family that lives there. I’m a scrawny young white guy with a slight limp and a Sig under my shirt. You could pass me on the street and never know I was carrying. Honestly? It’s none of your concern unless you’re a criminal intent on doing myself or my family harm.

      Why are you so personally insecure? Why must you project that insecurity onto your fellow citizens and use it to deny them an effective means of self-defense?

    • Tam says:

      Not to bring up inconvenient truths, but a number of studies…

      And what would that number be? S.L.A. Marshall and…? Please, enlighten this uneducated rube. I have a few moments free between senseless shootouts in the cereal aisle.

  18. Mike says:

    Dear typerbiker, …err Philly person… or whatever. I have stopped arguing with your type. My efforts and dollars go to removing restrictions from my personal freedom. I don’t care whether you live or die, wrestle muggers till dawn, or cower in a corner while your family is brutalized. I don’t care about your opinions, your beliefs, or personal philosophies. I am a savage, and I carry a gun – all day – every day – everywhere. I am, my non-descript appearance to the contrary, dangerous. Leave me alone and go away.

  19. phillytyper says:

    Ah, well, clearly an unemotional, level-headed bunch. Just the sort I want coming to my rescue while I cower in a corner. Oddly, I care about some of the philosophies expressed here, because they are curious. I don’t declare those espousing them to be rubes, uneducated, etc… I merely stated what reality looks like from over here. It seems to really rile up people to have their gun beliefs questioned.

    Oh, and about outsourcing– “a guy with a tin badge and a shitty salary” raised an Irish family in a rough section of Philly. His name was Joseph McGettigan–he was my grandpop, and he did a damn good job. His sons and daughters all went on to do good things, except for one, who didn’t make it back from over Germany. Funny story–Grandpop took night classes in the new technology of the time, so he could get off the street and earn a bit more–he learned to type.

    It’s good to always be ready to learn new things, I think–that’s just my opinion, though, there may be evidence to the contrary!

    See you around.


    • Tam says:

      It seems to really rile up people to have their gun beliefs questioned.

      You seem to have confused wry amusement with being riled.

      And you don’t have to worry about me “coming to your rescue”; I have no delusions of heroism, I’m just some chick.

    • Tam says:

      …and as a footnote, how come you get to use all manner of hyperbole in your calm and reasoned observations, but when I do, I’m obviously “riled”?

      I’m serious; this aspect of our discourse puzzles me.

      • Tam says:

        I see that civilly-worded questions will not receive an answer, merely some hand-waving about groupthink with a sly elbow nudge about talk radio, (and we know what kind of people listen to that, amirite?)

  20. “a guy with a tin badge and a shitty salary”

    Clearly you have misunderstood the reference. Let me make it perfectly plain so that you don’t have the excuse next time.

    If you are unwilling to defend yourself, but you expect a policeman to come and do your fighting and dying for you then you are a coward. It’s your life, so you can be a coward if you want. What you can’t do is claim that your decision to force a cop to protect you while failing to lift a finger is a good moral choice. It is especially immoral for you to force that decision on the rest of us.

    Is that clear enough for you? Or are you planning on misrepresenting some more?

  21. phillytyper says:


    –Er, you need to read more clearly. I haven’t dialed 911 in years, and I’m afraid that in all the incidents I referenced above, I raised more than a finger, I raised a hand, a foot, and at least once, a brick. You need to chill with throwing the word coward around. Do you mean I was frightened when stuff happened? Sure, call me a coward for that. But not sure where you get this “not lifting a finger” and calling the cops jazz from.

    — Read for meaning, and reply for clarity. Hope you aim better than you write.

    –This is starting to read like transcribed talk radio, or what I imagine it must sound like!

    — Hmm, well, for some reason I will find the sheer courage to leave my house in Philadelphia unarmed again today. I guess that makes me a punk.

    –Michael McGettigan

    • Mike W. says:

      Hmm, well, for some reason I will find the sheer courage to leave my house in Philadelphia unarmed again today. I guess that makes me a punk.”

      No, it doesn’t make you a punk. Unlike anti’s, we pro-gun folks have no intention of forcing you to do anything. We certainly don’t advocate forcing you to carry if you choose not to. Unfortunately the anti-gun crowd seeks to force their choices upon us rather than just admitting they find guns “icky” and choosing not to carry them.

  22. phillytyper says:

    Here’s an odd thought–what’s the opposite of ” preaching to the choir” ?

    I have seldom stumbled into such a den of like thinkers; reminds me of my ashram days. (they were mercifully short)

    — mcget

    • Tam says:

      …reminds me of my ashram days. (they were mercifully short)

      As the old saying goes, ‘You can take the boy out of the ashram…” :p

  23. Well, I hung around there cause I liked this gal that was into the same thing…
    I left because of:
    1) poor aesthetics (could stand the sloppy dress, to be honest.)
    2) crummy food. (no one knew how to cook vegetarian at that point.)
    3) Inability to deal with conflict or realize it was necessary.
    4) I’d spent years wearing the yoke that all Roman Catholics slog around with… danged if I was going to put on another.
    5) The Guru Majarajah’s sleeves rode up as he raised his hands to a room full of followers–on his wrist was a fat, expensive looking scuba watch.

    Again, with the ad hominem (you can take the boy out of…) and lack of any punch line, like, what ‘old saying’ ?

    Geez, where’s the wit around this place? Does everybody turn in their sparkle when they join the gun club?

    I guess always being braced and ready to make those life or death decisions whilst the cowards’re cow’rin’ in th’ corners can wear a guy (or gal) down.

    Well, off to find a cup of coffee. Wish me luck.


    • Tam says:

      Again, with the ad hominem (you can take the boy out of…) and lack of any punch line, like, what ‘old saying’ ?


      That’s pretty good…

      So, you meant “…such a den of like thinkers; reminds me of my ashram days. (they were mercifully short)” as a compliment, then? How rude of me to respond the way I did. I’m terribly sorry.

      (And a person of wit would be able to finish the bon mot with the obvious “…but you can’t take the ashram out of the boy” without any outside help.)

      And with that, I’m off to the local sidewalk cafe on my bicycle to grab a bite and do some of the kind of writing that gets responses of the “Pay To The Order Of” variety. (Don’t worry, however; I shall be hyper vigilant and paranoid like a ninja!)

  24. phillytyper says:

    Actually, it was a bon “meh”… because the ending was so obvious, that I was left waiting for the witty part. And no, the ashram was a a drag of the highest order. Like an army with no clear mission.

    re: “… some of the kind of writing that gets responses of the “Pay To The Order Of” variety. ”

    So–you’re in collections? Business must be booming in this economy. Are you allowed to mention you have a gun?


  25. phillytyper says:

    Don’t you wish. It took me X-and-a-half hours to get back to this blog and 11.5 seconds to type that railery. Plus, it was off-the-clock–not looking to sprain anything on a blog; got a life in actual space, where a day job is still considered an honorable thing by some.

    Plus, tell me ‘bon meh’ doesn’t have a bit of zip! I also coined the bike industry term ‘BSO’, and according to that liberal rag, the New York Times, produced and directed the first Type-In–a living legend in my own spare time–as WJ put it. So working days and typing nights suits me fine.

    That said, back to work, still waiting for even a splash of wit off this blog. I’ll spot you 48 hours to write a comeback that doesn’t sound like, say, a bill collector. Or you can simply direct me to one of your masterpieces.

  26. Gnarly Sheen says:

    “That said, back to work, still waiting for even a splash of wit off this blog.”

    I guess it’s a safe bet that such a splash won’t be coming from any of your comments.

  27. Henry Bowman says:

    Give the deity of your choice thanks that the usual loons are in your neighborhood screaming, “Guns in bars! Guns in bars!” Every time they cry “wolf” they marginalize themselves further, and nothing is as slam-dunk safe for pro-rights advocates as “guns in bars” legislation. Here in Arizona, we’re coming up on the second anniversary of the passage of our own “guns in bars” law (which of course, is really a “Breakfast at Denny’s” law), and we have yet to have a SINGLE incident of mayhem attributable to the new law. And you can bet your fuzzy blues that we remind the liberal Chicken Littles (including the state newspaper) of this on EVERY ANNIVERSARY.

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