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Guns in Bars Bill Opposed by Kent Tavern Owners

Bar owners say alcohol, firearms don't mix

Kent bar owners say anyone should know guns and alcohol don't mix.

Tell that to members of the Ohio General Assembly.

Both the Ohio House and Senate have passed similar bills that would allow permit-holding gun owners to carry a concealed weapon into places that serve alcohol. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has previously expressed support for such a measure but hasn't directly indicated he would sign a final bill into law.

Many expect Ohio legislators will come together on a final measure allowing guns in bars and liquor establishments and pass that onto the governor for his approval.

"I think it’s ridiculous," Vince Fazio, owner of on Franklin Avenue, said. "First of all, I don’t think you need to carry a gun when you’re in public. But if the law states you can carry a concealed weapon, I’m not going to debate that. However, in the bars you’re selling a mind-altering substance. You should only operate a gun while you have a clear and level head."

The measure being discussed by legislators would make it illegal for someone to drink while carrying a firearm in a liquor establishment. And bar owners would retain their private property rights and be allowed to ban firearms from their business.

But for Charlie Thomas, owner of , those two provisions would be tough for bar owners to police.

"What if we don’t know if they have a gun, and they drink anyways?" Thomas said. “It sure puts a liability on us that we didn’t have before."

"We don’t pat people down or anything," Mike Beder, owner of , said. "It's hard to tell, someone could still bring one in and we wouldn’t know. And frankly, so if people who are carrying these weapons aren’t allowed to consume alcohol, then they’re just taking up space in here. Because I sell alcohol."

Proponents of the idea say it's more a matter of convenience — they don't want to have to remove their weapon to have dinner out with their family or attend a professional sporting event.

Jeff Garvas, of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, told the Plain Dealer Ohio laws don't differentiate between bars, restaurants, stadiums and other places where alcohol is served.

"We didn't go out and write a bill to say we need a bill that allows us to have a gun in bars," Garvas told the Plain Dealer. "The whole purpose is to go to a restaurant which just happens to serve alcohol and not have to leave my gun in the car."

Supporters point to the limitation that people who carry a gun into a bar can't drink as enough protection for bar owners.

Robert Morson, owner of , somewhat agrees.

"Even though they’re allowed to carry it in doesn’t mean that we have to allow it," Morson said. "We can refuse, like I have no smoking on my deck.

"You’re allowed to smoke on our deck technically, but I won’t allow it," Morson said. "And that’s my right. And I think the gun would be the same way. I think I have the right as the owner of this building and establishment to say I don’t want anybody to carry a gun inside our building. And of course it’s their right not to come in."

Morson, like Beder, Thomas and Fazio, said they would post signs prohibiting people to carry a gun into their establishment if the measure is signed into law.

Still, Louis DelBene, co-owner of , thinks guns and alcohol are a bad combination.

"Common sense need not be debated," he said.

Walter Hamilton III May 26, 2011 at 11:12 AM
....Dah,,, What about " guns and alcohol mix",, don't they understand. This had been a law for decades, and has served the public well. If it's not broke, don't fix it !!! Even if you don't consume alcohol in a restaurant atmosphere with bar service, there is that chance that a patron who is consuming alcohol , and causes trouble may have an opportunity to acquire that weapon, especially if the carrier try's to help. I know this can seem like a reach, but I have worked in bars, restaurants,etc. And, you would be surprised how " events can occur". This is a preventative measure, and a good one !!!
Bonefishbill May 26, 2011 at 11:27 AM
Yes , people with CCW permits should be allowed to carry guns in establishments that serve alcohol. The law clearly states that the person with the CCW may not drink...while carrying.
Silence Dogood May 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM
I think it is ridiculous that these people carrying guns "don't want to have to remove their weapon to have dinner out with their family or attend a professional sporting event." I refuse to believe that removing one's concealed firearm is an arduous and difficult process, and if you are too lazy or ill-equipped to remove it when you have to, then don't carry it at all. Do these same people think they should be able to bring their gun to schools, because it would be more convenient? What I wonder is how many people are going to be hurt or killed unnecessarily before politicians realize that this was a bad idea. Common sense is not so common, apparently.
john May 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM
The real point of this law is to carry into a restuarant that serves alcohol. Second, the people who are concealed carry license holders are LAW ABIDING CITIZENS, and they do not want trouble. (with that in mind, if i wanted to carry a firearm to shoot someone in a bar, i could illegally do that anyhow). The main point of this law is to protect people coming into, and leaving restaurants that serve alcohol. (many people are attacked coming out of buildings in parking lots - just look at akron). the second point of this is to keep the firearms on the law abiding persons, and not stored in their vehicles while they are eating in a restaurant. The law also was extended into bars, as to not exclude establishments, although, not many people are not really going to go into "the loft" with a firearm, considering the main point of "the loft" is to drink. Not to mention "Mugs" is a horrible place to go anyhow. Not to mention, that people have been legally carrying concealed firearms for years, and how many problems have occured from it? Again, these are LAW ABIDING CITIZENS that are carrying concealed firearms, they ar enot looking for any trouble. If any bars in kent refuse the right to carry, i refuse the right to give them any of my business, EVER.
Becky Thatcher May 26, 2011 at 01:04 PM
THANK YOU BAR OWNERS WHO OPPOSE CCW IN A BAR!! I'm hoping that every bar posts a sign saying no firearms allowed. I do not want to go into any place where the person next to me has a gun - even if they are law abiding citizens. I do not want situations to escalate, I do not want to be around someone protecting themselves with flying bullets, I do not want my kids to be next to that person in any restaurant. It doesn't matter if the person with the gun is not drinking.........who the heck is going to police these items? I see it now: Police: everyone in the bar CCW raise your hand...now take a breathalizer. Starts to sound more like Kabul then Kent. Not really nice, btw, to single out one bar so meanly.
Silence Dogood May 26, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Whenever the "rights" of those who carry a concealed weapon are discussed, their irrational and vehement responses are exactly why it terrifies me to think that they will be allowed at sporting events, bars and restaurants with guns. If the discussion of gun rights sets them off like that, how am I to be persuaded they will be responsible with their gun in public, especially places where logic is blurred by alcohol, tempers tend to flair or at a restaurant with families and children? Why do these people feel the need to carry a gun out to a family dinner... leave it at home. If those with CCW permits really think they need a gun at all times for protection in Kent, Ohio, they are not sane rational human beings, and should not have the permit in the first place. Like Becky, thank you to all bar and restaurant owners who oppose this.
James Thomas May 26, 2011 at 02:37 PM
You are right, it's a reach. It's a big reach. The CCW holder is the absolute least of your problems and would be the greatest help if some unforseen event happens. CCW holders are absolutely aware of their responsibilities and legal restrictions. That's why they have the permit. If you can't trust the , responsible, trained individual, how can you trust a Police Officer?
James Thomas May 26, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Please point out the vehement, irrational posts in this discussion. If the responsible exercise of legitimate rights "frightens you" then perhapse you should seek therapy. It's on you to gather your own courage, not me to live according to your fear.
john May 26, 2011 at 03:57 PM
"What I wonder is how many people are going to be hurt or killed unnecessarily before politicians realize that this was a bad idea" considering crime rates have dropped ever since concealed carry has been passed in states across the U.S. I dont understand where you are getting this idea? Not to mention, a concealed carry holder, carries a gun to protect themselves AGAINST the unnecessary attack on themselves. They are not carrying to pull out their firearm and shoot everyone. Clearly you do not realize that there are millions of concealed carry holders in the U.S. and thousands in Ohio alone. How many have you seen or heard about unnecessarily attack anyone? The people you are talking about, are the ones who are illegally carrying, or are illegally trying to rob, rape, or hurt you, NOT THE LEGAL CONCEALED CARRY HOLDER!
Mr. Biggs May 26, 2011 at 04:14 PM
"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity". Sigmund Freud This bill has the option of the establishment to post the no guns sign . If a person is caught where the sign is posted it is a felony. It is also law that no person shall handle a firearm while under the influence ( This has been law for many years). It is a felony also. Restaurant owners are not at obligation to enforce laws, but to obey them and (smoking in bars is not the obligation of the bartender to enforce the ban, it is the obligation of the relegated authority which is the health department) ( the same would hold true with a CCW in bar drinking which would be enforced by the police). Starbucks has a national policy to allow CCWs in their shops and there has been no problems. Any problems they have had were the radical anti gun people causing disturbances in the coffee shops over their policy. CCW holders are not the hillbillys a lot of people make them out to be (biased media). In short , the other states that allow the restaurant carry, have had no trouble with the licensed CCW and there have been numerous times when armed assailents were stopped in their tracks when committing crimes in the establishments by a lawful licensed firearm owner. The licesned gun carriers come from all walks of life , Docters, Lawyers, mothers, fathers grandfathers ,Grandmothers, shop owners, Bar owners etc. etc. any person or vocation you can imagine.
James Thomas May 26, 2011 at 06:25 PM
What if, what if, what if, As many as you propose there are as many or more on the opposite side. What IS is the important thing. How many instances of your what ifs have actually happened in states that allow CCW in bars and stadiums. It should be easy to research as it would have been trumpeted news. Will you choose to have the rights you hold dear limited by my "what ifs".
MOST HATED PERSON ON PATCH May 26, 2011 at 06:32 PM
i work in a bar downtown and you can be assured if we find someone with a gun in the bar with or without a permit they will be escorted out of the bar and police will be called. this is insanity.
john May 26, 2011 at 06:38 PM
And what if a truck came crashing through the front of the bar!? what would happen then!? Honestly, making up stories and excuses that will not happen is not arguing the concept. All CCW holders are law abiding citizens, they have to have background checks, and must not have a criminal record. Second, they all have to take training which demonstrates how to avoid conflicts, how to handle a firearm, and how to not have it taken from you by "the guy sitting next to you". Not to mention that that could happen anywhere you go, and it very rarely if ever happens. I have the right to carry a firearm in Ohio, and many other states. First it is protected by the US CONSTITUTION, it is also protected by the Ohio Laws. I can also legally carry an open firearm in ohio, i do not need a concealed carry permit at all. I am also amused as to how firearms in a bar is so dangerous, but people drinking and then driving away is not considered dangerous!? there are millions of people a year that die from car accidents, and how many from a drunk person that had just left a bar!? Why dont we ban driving to the bar in the first place!? Personally i think that would make everyone more safe. Lastly, It is not the job of a police officer to "protect" you. they will not always be there, not to mention most citizens i know, know more about firearms and how to operate and fire them than any police officer will ever know.
MOST HATED PERSON ON PATCH May 26, 2011 at 06:46 PM
i'm all for banning driving to the bars, especially in kent. and whether you are protected by the constitution or state laws the bar owner/operators have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.
Wilburforce May 26, 2011 at 07:08 PM
In Florida CCW permit prohibits carrying to sporting events ( ball parks ) and BARS whose business is to sell alcohol. BUT it is permitted to carry a licensed weapon in a restaurant that serves alcohol. If there is a problem it is left up to the States Attorney ...of course. Personally I believe that's the best approach, seems to work
Chris Fredmonsky May 26, 2011 at 07:10 PM
I think Legal CCW holders should be able to carry their firearms into a restaurant that serves alcohol. I'll bet there are non-CCW holding individuals that are currently carrying in many of Kent's bars illegally already. CCW permit owners go through a screening process and background check and are law-abiding citizens. I'd worry less about someone with their CCW permit carrying in a bar and more about those without their CCW that may be carrying illegally. As a current CCW permit holder, I abide by all the rules and would never deviate from them, can we say that about all the non CCW holders out there?
john May 26, 2011 at 07:25 PM
I agree, that a store has the right to refuse serivce, or not allow certain people in. Although, noone here is arguing that point. What is being argued is that My right to carry should not be allowed, because you do not think it is right. Laws are not made to control the people who do not follow them. Someone who refuses to follow the laws will do whatever they want regardless if it is illegal to carry in a bar. Also, Ohio laws do not differientiate between restaurants that serve alcohol, and bars. which this is really the debatable topic. Maybe Ohio should change the definitions of bar and restaraunt that serves alcohol? But to not pass a law based solely on that is idiotic. There are MANY more restaurants that serve alcohol, not to mention MOST CCW holders will not be carrying into bars anyhow, they are concerned with carrying into restaurants as they go to eat. Not to mention, a CCW carrying their firearm is MUCH safer than a firearm locked inside a car.
MOST HATED PERSON ON PATCH May 26, 2011 at 07:29 PM
i hear what you're saying, but the name of the article is "Guns in Bars Bill Opposed by Kent Tavern Owners" so that's where i was coming from.
Mr. Biggs May 26, 2011 at 10:56 PM
You can read the bill at www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_45 There may have been some modification in committee since this was put online in January.

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