Foodservice Equipment Reports

Ohio Debates Guns In Bars, Restaurants

The Ohio State Senate is debating a bill already approved by the House which would allow concealed-carry permit holders to take guns into restaurants, bars and open-air arenas that serve alcohol as long as they do not drink. Business owners still could post signs banning guns from their establishments.

According to Legal Community Against Violence, seven states have laws similar to the one being debated in Ohio; another seven prohibit guns in places that serve alcohol.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that one Ohio representative noted that she can carry her gun into an Einstein Bros. Bagels outlet, but not into a local, independent restaurant because it sells alcohol.

According to the paper, Scott Heimlich, v.p.-Central Ohio Restaurant Association, urged legislators to defeat the bill, which Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman called a "toxic mix" of guns and alcohol.

Heimlich expressed concern about liability issues and insurance costs associated with the bill, and questioned how operators could enforce the ban on drinking by those who carry guns. "Do we do pat-downs or ask every guest before we serve them a glass of wine?" he said, according to the Dispatch.

Law-enforcement groups also opposed the bill.