Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ohio House votes to relax gun laws; unruly drunks beware

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2008 at 9:31 AM

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Under the proposed relaxed gun laws, scenes like this -- a heated dispute over a bar tab at the Lakewood McCarthy's -- will become even more prevalent.
As the Plain Dealer and other papers report this morning, the Ohio House on Wednesday approved an NRA-supported bill that would loosen the restrictions on where registered gun owners can carry their weapons. If the bill passes the Senate (this is Ohio; why wouldn't it?) and Governor Ted Strickland signs it (this is Ohio; why wouldn't he?), legal owners will be able to carry unloaded guns in their cars, unlocked and with ammunition at the ready. You know, in case they have to shoot someone on the way to the office. A smaller piece of the legislation -- it didn't make the Columbus Dispatch's story, and was relegated to the sidebar in the PD's -- would allow both bar owners and "special deputy police officers" working in bars to carry weapons. Which is a lot like serving $1 Long Islands at a shooting range: unnecessary, rather dangerous, but potentially entertaining, albeit with the risk of getting a bullet lodged in your pancreas. ... I sort of get the car thing, I suppose: If you're in Tremont and someone tries to jack your Honda while you're sitting in it -- which, according to Scene's Gus Garcia-Roberts, doesn't seem too unlikely -- it's nice to be able to respond with something other than a sigh of resignation: Oh. You again. The bar part, though, I'm really not following: You don't hear much about bar owners getting held up at gun point. These aren't convenient stores, which are often devoid of customers and manned by lone cashiers. Try to rob a bar -- many of which are defined by the loyalty of their customers -- and you're likely to catch a bottle of Stoli to the head from a career drunk who'd been waiting for this moment all his life. For the budding robber, this is not a high-percentage play, unless you're really, really into Golden Tee. Of course, there are fights in bars from time to time -- sometimes even bad ones, like the one in Lakewood that killed a guy a while back. But guns -- loaded handguns in places overrun by drunks and testosterone and liquor -- aren't going to help. They're only going to get more bullets flying in crowded places, hurting people, killing people, and even, god forbid, shattering perfectly good bottles of liquor. And that, friends, is tragic. -- Joe P. Tone

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