A new Ohio law allows gun owners to carry their weapons into bars and restaurants. But, many bars and restaurants are taking a stand against it, losing customers and money in the process.
Being able to carry a gun into a local business is nothing new. But, carrying it into businesses that sell alcohol is. The new law allows folks to take their guns to the bar, as long as they don’t drink. The idea here is that being in a bar with a gun doesn’t make the situation dangerous, being intoxicated in a bar with a gun does.
Plenty of business owners are quite okay with losing customers, though, if it means no guns are within their walls. They are taking to placing signs on their doors letting patrons know that firearms are not welcome.
Businesses want families and other patrons to feel safe when they walk in the door, and these signs seem to make them feel a little safer, even if they don’t ensure a weapon-free establishment.
“I’m not turning anyone away,” says Kim Rowe, the owner of Final Score Sports Pub in Delaware. “It’s not as if I’m patting them down as they walk through the door.”
Still, some people are taking their business elsewhere, where they feel their gun rights are more respected, or at least left alone.
“They are free to post if they wish to, but we won’t necessarily patronize them,” says Doug Deekend, the coordinator of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, a group which maintains a database of “weapon-free” businesses and supplies members with cards that read, “No guns = No $.”
The concealed weapons laws, which originally banned carrying such weapons in bars and restaurants, still ban them in schools, airports, and government buildings. Also, carrying such weapons without a proper permit could lead to criminal charges.
Under current laws, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, no matter where you are, is against the law and a 1st degree misdemeanor for a first offense. If you have prior offenses on your record, the charge is elevated to a 4th degree felony and carries 6 to 18 months in prison.
Gun laws in Ohio are pretty tough, and the penalties severe. You stand to lose a lot more than your gun if you are arrested—you stand to lose your freedom.
If you are charged with carrying a concealed weapon, using a weapon while intoxicated, or another weapons offense, having a local defense lawyer on your side can ensure your rights are protected throughout the criminal justice process.