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That Cockeyed Ohio Guns In Bars Law

By James Donahue

Anybody familiar with old western movies and television shows knows that the town sheriff usually always demanded that cowboys check their guns at the door of the local saloon. That was because it was common knowledge that alcohol consumption causes a lot of people to go wild, sometimes resorting to violence. And bars are no place for people to be carrying loaded guns in holsters strapped to their hips.

That is why is was a shock to read that the Ohio General Assembly recently passed a bill allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons into bars and other places where alcohol is served. The measure was quickly signed into law by Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich.

A similar bill not only allowing gun owners to carry in bars and restaurants but to buy guns without a permit was recently passed in Arizona and signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer.

And egad - similar laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars have just gone on the books in Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee. Also Texas Governor Rick Perry, one of the controversial candidates for the Republican nomination for President in 2012, called for guns to be made legal on college campuses after a shooting occurred at the University of Texas.

So what is going on in America these days? Have all of our elected politicians lost their marbles?

All of the new state laws came into reality following two landmark rulings by the U. S. Supreme Court that gives citizens “an individual right to keep loaded handguns for defense.” The rulings overturned handgun bans in Chicago and Washington D. C. The rulings launched a new movement by the gun lobby to expand gun rights state by state.

The argument has been that when citizens are carrying guns, they have the ability to not only defend themselves but their neighbors against criminal assault.

While living for a few years In Arizona, where most people have been allowed to carry handguns in holsters for years, we noticed that violent crimes involving the use of handguns was lower per-capita than in Detroit, where stricter gun laws made it almost impossible for most people to be armed in public. We concluded that there was some kind of deterrent to violence when it was possible that the other guy might just be armed.

While we are not opposed to relaxed gun laws, we think any law making it legal for people to carry concealed weapons into bars is comparable to allowing children to play with matches in a munitions factory. It won’t take long before something is going to go terribly wrong.

And while guns are getting easier to carry, even where alcohol is flowing, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has just issued a ruling that people licensed to use medical marijuana are prohibited from owning and possessing guns or ammunition.

The ATF says the policy is written in federal law that prohibits unlawful users of marijuana or other controlled substances from possessing guns. Even though certain states may now issue permits for medical marijuana use, the plant remains illegal under federal law. Thus the ATF says medical marijuana patients remain included in the definition of “illegal users.”

People who know the effects of both alcohol and marijuana recognize the outrageous absurdity of these two rulings. Common sense tells us that people under the influence of alcohol have no business getting their hands on loaded guns. People under the influence of marijuana are so docile they probably would have no interest in handling such a weapon, let alone consider firing it at another person.