Republican-controlled state houses across the country appear to be touting a new motto: Allow guns everywhere. At the urging of the gun lobby, state legislatures are welcoming firearms into parks, schools, government buildings, university campuses, churches, and day-care centers. Last week, Ohio’s GOP-led house contributed to the nonsensical effort with a bill that allows Ohioans with concealed-carry permits to bring a gun into a bar, restaurant, or “open air arena” like a sports stadium that serves alcohol. The reasoning? Ohioans should be able to protect themselves:
Republican Representative Danny Bubp, a sponsor of the legislation, said the bill is necessary to make sure law abiding citizens have equal footing with criminals.
“You can’t always count on law enforcement to be there to protect you,” Bubp said. “You have to be able to protect yourself.”
The bill does allow restaurants to put up signs barring guns and does prevent a person carrying the gun from drinking alcohol at the same time. This, however, is a barely enforceable caveat that fails to assuage the bill’s evisceration of common sense. A fact that is not lost on the people this bill would directly affect — Ohio bar owners:
“It’s not a good idea,” said Lacy Williams, owner of Lacy’s Sport Stop, 150 Mitchell Blvd. “I don’t want them here. People drinking and guns don’t mix.”
McMurray’s Irish Pub owner Kevin O’Neill had similar feelings about the proposed legislation.
“Guns in bars are bad,” he said. “Guns and alcohol don’t mix.” [...]
Darlene McConnaha and her husband own Jimmy T’s Saloon, 1922 Lagonda Ave., and both have concealed carry permit holders. Yet, McConnaha said both she and her husband oppose the legislation.
“It’s bad – all the way bad,” McConnaha said. “There’s nothing good about it because alcohol and guns do not belong together.”
Incidentally, this is a feeling shared even by members of the NRA. One Republican who objected to the bill, state Rep.Todd McKenney, sided with the bar owners and police officers who “didn’t like” the bill. “These are the guys with the baseball bats behind the bars, with the sheriff on speed dial, and they say ‘We don’t want this,’” McKenney said.
The Columbus City Council unanimously passed a resolution yesterday calling on Gov. John Kasich (R) to be to veto the bill. According to the council’s spokesman, Cleveland, Athens, and Union County councils have similar resolutions. Kasich is “expected to take action on the bill next week.” Should he sign the bill into law, Ohio will join Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia in permitting guns and alcohol to mix.
The bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition’s latest poll found that 80 percent of Ohioans and 77 percent of gun owners oppose proposals to allow guns into bars, clubs and other establishments that serve alcohol.