Bloomberg, Alcohol, and Guns

Ross Eliot is a Portland, Oregon based, socialist gun guy who used to publish the ‘zine American Gun Culture Report. I got on board with gun culture too late to partake of that work, but Eliot has recently returned with his Occupy the Second Amendment blog site.
Occupy 2A snip

Eliot recently riffed on his receipt of funding raising material from the Michael Bloomberg backed Everytown for Gun Safety. It was promoting a video the comedian Rachel Dratch (of Saturday Night Live fame) made called “What Could Go Wrong?”

Eliot quotes Dratch’s introduction to the video:
I can think of a lot of things that don’t go well with drinking alcohol: Calling your ex. Performing heart surgery. Knitting. A loaded firearm. We can all agree that mixing that stuff with alcohol makes for a pretty dangerous cocktail. That’s why I was shocked to learn that you can legally carry a loaded gun in places that serve alcohol in 49 out of 50 states. Who thought this was a good idea?! And it’s just one of the crazy gun laws the NRA has fought for in statehouses across the country. The good news is, there’s something people like you and me can do about it: Check out the video I made about “What Could Go Wrong?” when guns and alcohol mix. Then, sign up to get involved to stop the gun lobby from pushing their extreme laws in your community. I spent my comedy career on Saturday Night Live doing some pretty ridiculous stuff. But “let’s allow guns in bars” is the kind of idea that’s too ridiculous to make up. And it’s being pushed by the same extremists who want guns in mental institutions, day care centers, and in the hands of felons and domestic abusers. It’s going to take people like you and me — sane, reasonable people — standing up to these reckless laws in our neighborhoods, cities, and states, if we want to keep our families safe.
Eliot does a nice job criticizing the video and Bloomberg on a number of points, so please check out his take.
I was particularly drawn to Eliot’s post because I have thought quite a bit about the intersection of alcohol and guns. I like to drink alcohol. I like to shoot guns. But I never do both at the same time. So the whole issue of people legally carrying with permits in bars (where allowed by law) is an interesting one because the law in my home state of North Carolina is very specific about this.
Although a shall issue state since 1995, North Carolina only allowed concealed carry in bars (unless posted by the owners) beginning in 2013. Even with that change in the law, however, the previous prohibition on ANY alcohol consumption while carrying — in bars or anywhere else in public — still applies.
As North Carolina’s statute reads: “It shall be unlawful for a person, with or without a permit, to carry a concealed handgun while consuming alcohol or at any time while the person has remaining in the person’s body any alcohol or in the person’s blood a controlled substance previously consumed, but a person does not violate this condition if a controlled substance in the person’s blood was lawfully obtained and taken in therapeutically appropriate amounts or if the person is on the person’s own property.”
I am pretty sure Tennessee has the same restriction on consuming alcohol while carrying. I haven’t looked at every state that allows bar carry, but I wonder how many of them do not allow alcohol consumption while in bars? I know Illinois allows you to be up to 0.08 BAC while carrying (same rules as for driving apply), but Illinois bars carrying in bars or restaurants with more than 50% of income from alcohol.

So, I don’t think guns and alcohol mix very well, but I also do think we tend to focus too much attention on the guns in the guns/alcohol mix and not enough on the alcohol. I have argued previously that if more attention were paid to the dangers of alcohol rather than the dangers of guns, many more lives could be saved from the the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States (that would be alcohol, not guns).

In the mean time, I am going to continue to enjoy alcohol and guns, separately, responsibly, safely, as millions of other alcohol-drinking, gun-toting Americans do.


  1. It’s lawful for me to enter a drinking establishment with a set of car keys in my pocket. It’s lawful for me to drink while while having car keys in my pocket. It is lawful for me to drink and then use my car to get home. It is not lawful, however, or me to drive my car with amount of alcohol in my body that impairs my ability to drive that car. The state trusts me (and everyone else over the legal drinking age) with the ability to judge between being impaired and using a dangerous mechanical instrument which, when used improperly, kills thousands of people each year.

    And Ms. Dratch gets her knickers in a twist when I even *enter* a drinking establishment with a pistol on my belt.

    That says quite a lot about her self-control (or lack thereof).


    • Do you know/recall whether you can drink (though obvi not be drunk) while carrying with a permit in Arizona or Florida?

      I should research this myself but trying to take advantage of local knowledge in the short run.


  2. New York State: If Blood Alcohol Level is 0.08% or higher, firearm confiscated, permit confiscated on the spot and voided (heavy ballpoint pen, “VOID”), and sent to the court with arrest paperwork and holder of permit charged with Criminal Possession of (Loaded) Firearm. I had made arrests of drunk drivers when in the 20th century BAC for DWI was 0.10%, but really, drunks back then were on average of 0.29% and the highest anyone I arrested was 0.42%, my partner arrested one that blew 0.47%, back when they were not hospitalized. Then hospitalization was set at 0.28% BAC.

    Last I checked, you may, go where there is alcohol served.

    It used to be for cops the department advised not to be armed at weddings and other functions while consuming alcohol.


  3. I know that Indiana and Pennsylvania have no law on carrying while intoxicated or into bars, meaning it’s legal to carry into a bar and drink as much as you want. Ohio just recently allowed “bar carry,” but you’re not allowed to drink any alcohol while carrying. It seems like there’s a correlation between when a state adopted “Shall Issue” laws and the number of places that are illegal to carry.


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