Gun and Alcohol Case Could Put Citizens at Risk in Their Own Homes
Article first appeared on Ammoland.com
U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments in February to decide whether a law prohibiting gun owners from carrying firearms while intoxicated should be applied inside a gun owner’s home,” the Associated Press reported Saturday. Seeing an opportunity for a new and intrusive way to catch more gun owners in the disarmament net, the gun-grabbers are arguing that upholding an arrest is necessary for “the safety of Ohio residents and responding police officers.”
That dovetails nicely (for them) with an overall strategy to disarm citizens convicted of driving under the influence. And it moves things from the public setting right into the home, which is where the long game goal has always been.
As a report, maddeningly few details are given for something with such potential for disenfranchising citizens from a fundamental right. That means it’s in our interest to learn more, even if the DSM is either clueless about the case’s significance and/or uninterested in people finding out.
Fortunately, the AP left enough clues so that the curious could do some investigative reporting of their own. In this case, it was a simple matter of going to the Ohio State Supreme Court website and doing a site search for the terms “drunk + firearms,” then sifting through those results to find one that matched those clues.
We’re talking State v. Weber, a case where despite the defendant’s wife telling police there was no longer a problem, they pressed their way in. There they found her admittedly inebriated but nonthreatening husband who, while he did have a shotgun, told police it was not loaded, which they proved for themselves. Had the man been intent on violence, they’d have known.
Nevertheless, the narrative from the appeals court opinion affirming the appellant’s conviction raises a major concern, aside from those of legality and probable cause:
“Furthermore, R.C.2923.15 does not, as suggested by appellant, criminalize the mere presence of a firearm in the home of an intoxicated person. Nor does the statute, as suggested by appellant, prohibit a person from carrying or using a firearm after consuming alcoholic beverages. Rather, the statute only prohibits the use or carrying of a firearm by a person who has imbibed to the point of intoxication.”
What’s unreasonable about that?
The “point of intoxication,” as defined by Ohio’s OVI laws is a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08, or 0.02 if under 21. Significantly, a citizen old enough to serve in the military can reach that level after only one drink. And it’s fair to ask how many of us, especially with the holidays approaching, will be inclined to consume several adult beverages over the course of a family gathering. What if you’re carrying, and not all blurry-eyed and speech-slurring like the hapless Mr. Weber was reported to be, but just right there at the legal limit for driving? Where is the “compelling state interest” to define that as the limit point?
But no big deal, right? What are the chances you’ll be caught? Plus, most of us behave, even if we’ve had a few. But that’s hardly the point because we know from experience that what the gun-grabbers do is take their incremental gains and from there press on for more. Why not add court-sentenced “AA” meeting attendees to the other “watchlists” the prohibitionists are demanding?
Still, this isn’t a “popular” case for most “gun rights” lobbying groups to make a big noise defending—who wants to endure the optics of arguing “guns for drunks”? Regardless, the fact remains that there are already ways to deal with people who brandish, and who attack others with weapons.
This isn’t about public safety, it’s about another inroad to citizen disarmament. As for people who have proven they can’t or won’t control themselves, taking their tools but leaving them able to harm others is never the solution.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.