Ashford: House Bill 45 allows guns in bars, restaurantsWritten by Michael Ashford | | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you remember Toledo’s “Route 66” incident a few years ago, you’ll know why I oppose a bill recently passed by the Ohio House allowing an owner of a concealed carry permit to carry their firearm into any bar or restaurant in Ohio. It means there might be people with guns in any place you go that serves liquor, including restaurants, clubs, malls, marinas and even museums.
Allow me to refresh your memory of the incident at the Route 66 Bar and Grill on Westwood Avenue near Nebraska Avenue in Toledo, where on October 8, 2009, there was an old-fashioned Western shoot-out. The incident was captured on surveillance tape for all of us to witness. The surveillance video showed the place packed with patrons when some people began exchanging words. A few seconds later, gunfire was caught on video with approximately 20-30 shots exchanged. Innocent bystanders fell to the floor and some patrons scrambled to the door. Luckily, no one was hurt. This is exactly the type of incident that we want to try to prevent by not allowing guns in places where alcohol can be a serious factor.
The shootout made national news and gave Toledo a black eye in the national media. As a former City Council member, I had the opportunity to serve on the Zoning and Planning Committee. Almost 90 percent of liquor licenses are renewed each year without objection from the vice division of the Police Department. Yet when those licenses are revoked it is usually because of the number of 911 calls made about an establishment, the majority of which are assaults and battery.
Many everyday citizens enjoy visiting our local bars and restaurants to meet with friends and to blow off some steam; there is no need to possibly make those locations any less safe for them.
Now, because of the passage of House Bill 45, guns will be allowed in troubled liquor establishments, causing concern for citizens’ safety. Here in Northwestern Ohio, Representatives Barbara Sears and Randy Gardner voted for this bill. Representatives Matt Szollosi and Teresa Fedor, joined me in voting no.
The simple truth is: Guns and alcohol don’t mix.
Michael Ashford (D) is State Representative for Ohio House District 48. Call his office at Phone: (614) 466-1401 or email him at email@example.com.