Should carrying a firearm and drinking alcohol be 100% mutually exclusive? Rob Pincus and PDN Contributor Grant Cunningham approach this topic from a few different perspectives, including what common sense tells us to do and what state and local laws permit or forbid. An analogy is made between drinking while driving and drinking while carrying a firearm.
25 Responses to “Carrying Defensive Firearms while Drinking?”
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So if you are at home, you have a couple of beers after work. Then a home invasion scenario presents itself. What do you do? Do you defend yourself A. with a gun; B. with another kind of weapon; C. your fists? Also a little off topic. How do many, concealed carry where ever they go. I mean they brag about being licensed and carrying all day(EDC)? And what if you encounter the sign, no firearms allowed on premises? Thanks.
There are two considerations. The moral one, which is “should I carry a gun and drink?” and the legal one, which is “can I carry a gun under these circumstances?”
In my home state of MD, it is legal to carry (assuming you have a permit) a handgun in a bar, in a restaurant, and it appears, while drinking. It is illegal to carry while “under the influence”, whatever that means. There is no legal limit like there is for driving. I carry all the time, and I use “would I drive” as my criteria. I end up the designated driver most of the time because of this.
In FL, where I own a second home, it is not legal to carry in a bar, or in the bar area of a restaurant. Interestingly, it is not legal to hold a firearm in your hand if you are intoxicated, unless you are doing so to defend yourself.
A few years back, here in Indiana, a patron in a bar shot and killed an armed man attempting to rob the bar. They didn’t even press charges.
Sure I guess we could leave it up to the individual. I mean who is better qualified to gage the impairment than the inebriated person, right? We could. But let’s keep this at zero tolerance for everyone and no one will have to explain their actions to the police. I just don’t think it is a good idea.
While I appreciate these videos, would you please record them somewhere besides on a live range? The gunfire in the background is extremely distracting.
Hi Tim. Thank you for your feedback. I will forward your comments on to the proper department. We do appreciate your feedback.
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I agree, there’s nothing wrong with having a couple of drinks while armed, just because one chooses to drink doesn’t negate their right to self-defense. I’m not advocating drinking to excess, being falling down drunk while armed, but a few of drinks over the course of an evening shouldn’t be an issue (and is a personal choice) and should you have to use your defensive weapon, a clean shoot is a clean shoot (sober or otherwise) and if charges are filed a gun hating prosecutor is Always going to use what ever he can to try and win their case against you good shoot or not
As Rob mentioned some states “allow” you to drink (outside your own home) as long as you aren’t intoxicated (as defined by the states allowable bac level) others won’t allow you to carry into places that primarily make their money in alcohol sales, others into places that sell alcohol (for on premise consumption) at all.
I think it comes down to the individual, and it should be left up to them. Of course the advice is always going to be “don’t drink and carry” but making a blanket rule out of it isn’t a good idea. What better place to mug someone than outside the bar after all. As with everything else, it comes down to being the individual’s responsibility to know whether they’ll handle themselves well enough while and after drinking to handle a firearm or not, with the added responsibility of knowing when they need to ask a friend who carries to leave it behind, slow down, or let you take the firearm to the car for them.
Next time you hold a discussion with someone please don’t conduct it at the shooting range with somebody practicing behind you. Very distracting and annoying. Thank you.
Not sure there are many out there that can hold their liquor well enough. And drunk means they can’t hit what they are shooting at. I am sure there are some capable, but the rule of thumb to me is it is NOT a good idea
I don’t believe a drunk ought to be carrying a gun any more than I believe that a drunk ought to be driving. Now in Texas, the law prohibits licensed concealed carry by a person who is “intoxicated” . . . but the carry law doesn’t explicitly DEFINE what constitutes intoxication. The general presumption is that a blood alcohol content of 0.08% would be considered intoxication – the same as when driving – but there’s no case law I’m aware of that establishes that. (Do YOU want to be the test case?) Things are further complicated by the fact that drivers HAVE been convicted of DUI with LESS than 0.08% BAC. So perhaps an otherwise legally armed citizen could be as well. (Again, test case volunteer, anyone?)
Bars? Texas law prohibits carry in an establishment that derives 51% of its sales from alcohol for on-premises consumption, so if you’re carrying in a bar at all, you’re violating the law.
On the other hand, one further consideration: as far as I can tell, there is no “implied consent” provision in Texas carry law to submit to a breathalyzer, blood draw, or field sobriety test the way there is for driving a motor vehicle. So unless there’s video of the subject falling down drunk, proving someone was intoxicated when carrying (or after using!) a defensive firearm would take some real effort by LEOs responding to an incident.
Personally, I deal with this whole issue by staying sober when carrying.
While I enjoyed the video I didn’t enjoy trying to listen over gunfire. The topic was interesting but if this is how all the videos are I wouldn’t spend anything more for a premium one.
Hi Chris. Thank you for your feedback. I will forward your comments on. Your comments are important to us and help with the development of our online video streaming community.
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I appreciate the information, but honestly guys. Find a better place to film than on a live range. The background gunfire is distracting and interferes with our ability to hear your dialog.
i am an old fart, but what i do know is because i use pain medication, i do not drink very often. maybe one or drinks in a year. i made a choice everyone makes a choice, and it is his choice at home and no one elses business. if you can not defend yourself then it is your problem at home. getting to the point you can not control your self no matter how much that takes is a problem, if you are in public. at home it is your problem. i have never been drunk enough not to be able to handle myself. if that is your choice, do not carry a gun with you. i have drank a lot in the past, but my tolerance was such that i was not unaware of what was happening around me even though i would not have passed an alcohol test. waking up from a sound sleep which is rare for me, is similar to being drunk. adrenalen will also sober you up. if you can not walk very well handling a firearm will be dangerous. everyone is different and what you do in your home is your business. bring it into the public and it can be someone elses. if you make a bad decison the court will definately sort it out for you. be responsible, but that does not mean you can not have a drink.
I disagree, totally, adrenalin will NOT sober you up if you have seriously been drinking, just the same as black coffee will not. You may become more hyper and agitated but, you will be no more sober.
When I started carrying a firearm, I looked at is as a “badge of public trust” of me, with my firearm, thus I had a DUTY to stay in control of my faculties when carrying a firearm.
I would certainly NOT want the headache of relaying to a Grand Jury, the events of the night that will be in question after being “well lubricated” as it were, by alcohol.
That being said, it doesn’t rule out the thought that while at a tavern, or even at home, after a few brandies, that you will be targeted by the criminal element.
It would seem that if you were in a tavern setting, a Taser or less lethal method would be to your advantage, or disengage. With the Taser, if you were in the wrong, you owe them an apology, at any rate, you won’t be facing that Grand Jury.
At home, I always say “let your concience be your guide.”
Need to think as a court case. The prosecutor will use everything he can to show you were reckless, and did not know what you’re doing. Just shooting people because after drinking your judgement can not be trusted. You would have shot your own family. You were also a heater of the kind of people you shot, You planed this and ambushed the person. 1st degree homocide will be the charge.
Drinking and in your house while someone is killing your family is the only defence, Anything less, your going to prison.
Bottom line, if you have to drink, you must drink and think you can carry, you do not need a lawyer, you need a Alcohol Annonommous program. (AA).
If you have to drink, you have an alcohol problem, not a safety & security problem. No drinking and weapons. That will get you a prison term.
You were also a hater not heater… Sorry.
What are your thoughts on defending yourself in your home if you have been drinking?
I don’t drink in public if I’m carrying a firearm. I am much more comfortable drinking at home. I do keep defensive firearms in my house.
Are there any serious considerations to using a firearm after having a few drinks. If a person drank in excess, I doubt they would be able to realize or react to a threat. Do you know of any cases where it turned out favorable or unfavorably to the defending home owner?
I know you can’t give specific legal advice and laws vary from state to state. Just some general thoughts would be appreciated.
Alcohol impairs decision making and reaction time. Even with a “designated gun carrier” that do
Last comment posted before it was complete.
A “designated gun carrier” doesn’t help the people that are drinking because their reaction time and judgment are impaired. They still need to be able to see clearly and react with speed and agility to see danger and seek cover. Not to mention that emergencies arise in other ways. What if a spouse or child has an emergency? If they call for help, a response may be necessary, even if to simply visit them in the hospital.
Its very disappointing to see professional trainers make a “science” out of self defense, going into great detail about many things including awareness, and then to find out that they use alcohol more than just one drink. Extremely hypocritical. Why would anyone throw away all their training by becoming impaired? People don’t seem to have the courage to admit it but having more than a couple of drinks is not compatible with being a professional trainer in self defense. Its difficult to trust or take seriously those trainers that preach awareness but are not mature enough to live it by saying no to drugs.
Sorry AJ I don’t follow you. What video did you watch? No one condones going to the bar with a gun. In some cases it is illegal and if caught you face legal repercussions, not the least of which you risk losing your license as well as your guns. So the take home is you should not drink and concealed carry as taught in class. No conscientious law-abiding gun owner with a concealed license would.
This is a good starting point.
What you don’t cover is if you’ve been drinking at your home and then have a break in happen.