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Having a Gun in the Home and Drinking

Constitutionally protected, at least in Michigan. The Appeals Court ruled:

While preventing intoxicated individuals from committing crimes involving handguns is an important government objective, the infringement on defendant’s right in the instant case was not substantially related to that objective. We initially note that, at the time of the officers’ entry into the home, and at the time they were actually able to establish the level of defendant’s intoxication, defendant’s possession was constructive rather than actual. Thus, to allow application of this statute to defendant under these circumstances, we would in essence be forcing a person to choose between possessing a firearm in his home and consuming alcohol. But to force such a choice is unreasonable. As the facts illustrate, there was no sign of unlawful behavior or any perceived threat that a crime involving a handgun would be committed….

I’m OK with laws that punish the use of firearms while actually intoxicated, but not for a firearm stored in the home. Such a restriction is probably “common sense” to our opponents, but not to anyone who actually owns a firearm. It’s exactly how the court characterized it.

21 Responses to “Having a Gun in the Home and Drinking”

  1. Scott says:

    I drink like a fish and keep a Judge next to my chair. I don’t think that the fact I might drink a couple (or 12) of beers should be a crime or a reason to take my gun away. I would never go into public this way and don’t drink in public….whatever happened to a mans home is his castle?

    • Harold says:

      Constitutionally protected in Michigan; they overreached, heck, the district court was also unimpressed, it “dismissed the charge, primarily relying on the Second Amendment argument…. I wonder how anti-gun their supreme court is?

      By statue, it is also protected in Missouri, only use is criminalized.

  2. Patrick H says:

    Yeah I always have a gun reach when I drink at home. I never do anything with it. Its nobody’s business but mine that I do what I do in my home- since I’m not committing any type of crime.

  3. AndyN says:

    The obvious extension of the prosecutor’s reasoning would be that it should be illegal to drink at home if you have a car in your garage. I’m glad even in Michigan the court won’t put up with this particular over-reach, but you’re right that opponents of our rights are probably shaking their heads over this decision.

  4. Greg says:

    I don’t think there should be any kind of “automatic” “alcohol detected in blood while firearm was used” type of penalty.

    Even if someone is falling down drunk, they still have the right to protect themselves. Granted, their judgement will be impaired, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible for them to encounter a situation where employing the use of force falls within the letter of the law. When that occurs, I don’t want to see their defense evaporate because of their BAC.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      Yes — imagine you’re at home, you’ve been drinking, and someone breaks a window and climbs in. How does the alcohol make their actions any less dangerous to you?

  5. Chas says:

    Markie Marxist sez: “People who have a gun in the home shouldn’t be allowed to consume cornflakes with milk! I don’t know why, but it just seems like common communist sense that they shouldn’t, because they shouldn’t have a privately owned gun to begin with, since it’s an affront to the authority of the Marxist state! The cornflakes just add to the atrocity!”

  6. Bubblehead Les says:

    Makes about as much sense as prosecuting someone who has a Gas Can for a Lawnmower, a pack of matches and a bottle of Jim Beam. The homeowner MUST be an ARSONIST!

  7. Zermoid says:

    Since I carry 24/7, and do drink occasionally, I always have at least 1 gun in arms reach when I drink. I can see a possible extra charge for misuse of firearms while intoxicated, much like if you were pulled over for speeding and they noticed you were also drunk, but merely having a gun while drunk should not even be an issue to begin with.

  8. Wraith says:

    If you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on in this country, you need a drink!

  9. wasntme says:

    MAD was successful demonizing drinking so the anti-gunners are trying the same thing with gun ownership, only we have the 2ndA.

    In my opinion, the BAC laws are ridiculous. Yes drinking and driving was a problem that needed some attention. But they kept going at it and nobody would stand up to them because if they did, then they would be endorsed drinking and driving. So now we have laws that really have nothing to do with actually being impaired. As long as you over the magic number, your drunk. Doesn’t matter if you can do a walking hand stand, your still drunk. Take for instance the commercials that say you can be drunk and not know it. Really, I can be impaired and not know it? No, but can be legally “drunk” and not know it because it has nothing to do with actually being impaired.

    It looks like they would like the laws to say if you are legally drunk, your are to impaired to have a gun. Even though you won’t know it, because you aren’t actually impaired.

    • Jake says:

      Really, I can be impaired and not know it?

      Yes, you can. As an EMS provider in a college town, I see it very frequently. A person can earnestly believe they are fine when someone who is sober can easily see that they are quite obviously impaired.

      You are correct that (at least at lower levels, including the current limits) BAC and impairment do not necessarily correlate. But using BAC levels gives us a non-subjective criteria for determining whether someone is “drunk” or not.

      Considering how many games cops already play with field sobriety tests, do you really want to take away the only repeatable and non-subjective criteria we have and leave it entirely to the cop saying “he failed to do X to my satisfaction, so in my judgment he was impaired”?

  10. Peter Hamm says:

    I agree totally with Sebastian on this issue. But some of you sound like you may want to look into a 12-step program.

  11. Jeff says:

    I grew up in MI, I had a buddy who got his guns taken away because he was cleaning them at home while drinking a beer.

    In NV the legal limit to carry/posses a firearm was the same as driving. After MADD got the state legislature to change the legal limit for driving a few years back the legal limit to carry/posses is now higher than it is for driving.

    I’m not a fan of drinking and guns but its pretty damn silly to say that since I’m carrying I cannot have a glass of wine or beer with my meal at a restaurant.

    • Sebastian says:

      I tend to agree, and to be honest, CUI is a hell of a lot less inherently dangerous than DUI. The reason such rules exist is because some people exercise poor judgement and self-control when under the influence. I tend to think the penalty for CUI ought to be losing your license for a while, unless you do something stupid with the gun, in which case I’m fine with more serious criminal penalties. Some penalties for CUI are considerably more severe than DUI, which isn’t proportional to the relative danger. In some states, you can get in more trouble for having a gun in the glove box with a .16 BAC, than you’ll get for driving the car with a .16 BAC. Driving the car is far more likely to kill someone.

      Generally speaking, because Bitter isn’t much of a drinker, if we go out somewhere there will be alcohol, she’s the designated shooter (and driver) :)

  12. CAP says:

    There are 535 + 1 persons that are impaired and don’t know it. Doesn’t matter if they have been drinking or not. They are all guilty of LUI (legislation under the influence) they are under the influence/intoxicated by their perception that they were hired to rule people not represent them. We should have a one strike and you’re out policy. If these people fail to do want they say they will do in order to be elected to office they should automatically be disqualified from serving another term. So once they take the oath of office which includes the statement “I promise to preserve, defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America” that would pretty much assure us they will be serving only one term.

  13. Sarthurk says:

    Well, if we’re going to go down that road, no pun intended, it’s time to start busting people in possession of auto keys while under the influence, When the said auto is in any proximity. Your car is in the driveway, your keys are in your pocket, and you’ve had one too many. Then they’ll search your house for guns and send you to a federal prison.

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