February 21, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day has evolved from its Irish-Catholic roots of observing the country’s patron saint into one of the biggest global parties of the year. An estimated 133 million people are expected to join the holiday celebrations this year. More than 25% of the people will celebrate in a bar or restaurant. Does that include concealed carriers?

That actually depends on what state you are in. Three states (California, Florida, and Illinois) and the District of Columbia prohibit the carrying of any firearm openly in public. Another two states (New York and South Carolina) prohibit the open carrying of a handgun, but not a long gun, and another three states (Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey) prohibit the open carrying of a long gun, but not a handgun. In the remaining states, the open carrying of firearms is generally allowed, except in government owned buildings and restricted public areas.

There are 16 states that prohibit carrying a firearm in a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol (Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington). For the remaining states, It’s not illegal to possess a firearm within an establishment that serves alcohol. It’s illegal to consume alcohol and carry concealed.

Bars and restaurants have the right to refuse to serve those who concealed carry as long as they post a“No Firearms” sign. Private establishments can ban any firearms, but must post a legal notice banning guns on their premises or personally notify patrons that guns are not allowed.

It is only common sense that you should not consume alcohol when carrying a loaded firearm. Alcohol impairs your judgement and dulls your senses, so your situational awareness is reduced and your reflexes will be slower.

If any business posts a “No Firearms” sign, respect that and don’t go in. Maybe you should print up some “No Guns = No Money” cards and leave them with the owner of the establishment that has the signage. As responsible gun owners and upholders of the 2nd Amendment we should honor the rights of property owners to control their own property even if we disagree with them.