Debate Forum Topic, 7/5/11

Debate Forum Topic, 7/5/11

Ohio Republican Legislature passes expanded conceal and carry law

By Jeff Darcy

With Governor John Kasich’s signature last week, Ohio will change its state gun laws to allow people to wear concealed guns into facilities that serve alcohol. The Republican-led Ohio House voted 55-39 in favor of the change and the GOP-led Senate concurred with a vote of 25-7. The new law would cover 17,000 Ohio facilities where alcohol is served and consumed.

The change in the law would apply to facilities with Class D liquor licenses, which allow for on-premise alcohol consumption. That group includes restaurants, bars, sports stadiums, nightclubs, shopping malls and museums. College and university sports venues would not be affected because properties owned or leased by colleges are among the places where Ohio law generally bans concealed firearms. Such weapons also are prohibited at many government facilities, school areas and places of worship.

Advocates insist it is safer to allow guns in bars than to require they be left in cars outside of bars. Ohio was one of nine states that prohibit firearms where alcohol is served and consumed. Another 21 states allow guns in places that serve alcohol.

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 will result in loss of their concealed carry privileges.

Despite the new law, bar and restaurant owners still have a choice about whether they will allow weapons in to their business. If they choose to prohibit concealed weapons in their establishment, they would just need to post a sign at the entrance stating no weapons are permitted on the premises. The owner has the right under the law to control the presence of firearms in their own premises.

Opponents say it will lead to a dangerous mix of booze and firearms. The Ohio FOP and Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association oppose this legislation, touting, “guns and liquor don’t mix.” The Ohio Restaurant Association opposes the measure and said guns in establishments serving alcohol pose a risk.


Forum Question of the week:

Should Governor Kasich have signed into law HB 45 which may allow conceal/carry permit holders to bring guns into bars and restaurants?

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