If You Can't Drink and Drive, You Probably Shouldn’t Drink and Carry a Gun, Either.
You can't drive with an open container of alcohol in 40 states, according to a 2013 report from the National Conference of State Legislators. But drinking alcohol with a firearm on your person? That's legal in some U.S. states.
States like Minnesota, South Carolina and Texas allow patrons to have a firearm while dining in bars and restaurants that serve liquor, with certain restrictions. One restaurant in Texas even offers gun-toting customers a discount, Grub Street reported. At Shooter's Grill in Colorado, the waitresses are equipped with guns.
But do alcohol shots lead to gunshots?
You bet. According to a 2015 data analysis published in Preventative Medicine, "Alcohol misuse and firearm access increase risk of committing homicide and suicide." The data analysis estimated that 8.9 to 11.7 million firearm owners binge drink every month.
You don't need to go on a tequila bender for alcohol to change you. Every organ in your body changes when you're under the influence of booze, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Whether you're sipping on beer, wine or spirits, you'll feel the effects of booze. You may feel relaxed, social and uninhibited at first, but after a few beverages increase the alcohol in your bloodstream to the point of intoxication, you'll experience impaired brain function and impaired motor skills.
One meta-analysis of 29 articles found more than 35% of people who shot and killed themselves had "acutely consumed alcohol," aka were under the influence, and more than 25% of them had "heavily consumed alcohol."
The data analysis estimated 8.9 to 11.7 million firearm owners binge drink every month.
Thirty-seven states have restrictions on people with a history of alcohol misuse possessing or purchasing firearms, the Preventative Medicine analysis noted. But "vague, inherently subjective definitions" of alcohol misuse make enforcement difficult, the authors wrote. The study said firearm laws regarding alcohol should be better defined. An article from the National Academies of Science, Technology and Engineering echoed this, noting that targeted changes to public policy have successfully reduced alcohol-related traffic deaths.
Laws on the legal blood alcohol limit for carrying a gun vary by state, the U.S. Concealed Carry Association notes. For example, Texans with proper licenses may carry a firearm while drinking, but they may not carry while intoxicated — though there's no minimum BAC for intoxication on the books — according to the Texas Concealed Handgun License website.
Though the laws may be jumbled and convoluted, mixing firearms and drinking can have a pretty straightforward outcome: violence or attempts of it. Here are 12 scary (and sad) reported instances of alcohol and guns being a bad mix.
1. Drunk man shoots restaurant owner (New York)
The patron was reportedly upset they would not serve him more alcohol after he was already clearly intoxicated.
2. Intoxicated man shoots woman during a movie (Washington)
Police said he accidentally fired the loaded gun during the movie, which featured a lot of gunshots to begin with.
3. Drunk man shoots friend... (Ohio)
...who said he was trying take away his car keys to prevent him from driving drunk.
4. Drunk man shoots his dog... (South Dakota)
...in the face. Police said he was highly intoxicated.
5. Drunk man shoots his dog (Georgia)
Police found the dog in a trash can. According to neighbors, the man frequently got drunk and fired a gun on his property.
6. Drunk woman mistakenly shoots her husband (Michigan)
She reportedly thought he was an intruder and shot him in the shoulder.
7. Drunk man shoots his two sons... (North Carolina)
...before reportedly attempting suicide. The two boys were ages three and four.
8. Drunk man shoots himself... (Nebraska)
...in the leg. Police said he accidentally fired the gun and shattered his own tibia.
9. Drunk man shoots himself... (Nebraska)
...in the foot. The man was reportedly highly intoxicated and shot himself while pointing his gun toward the ground.
10. Drunk man shoots himself... (Connecticut)
...in the hand, while buying a firearm, according to police. It all went down around 1 in the morning.
11. Drunk man shoots at snow plow driver... (Massachusetts)
...for allegedly tailgating him during a snow storm. Fortunately, the plow driver was not hurt.
12. Drunk man threatens pub customers with a gun... (Connecticut)
...because the bartender reportedly refused to serve him more drinks. Witnesses said he chased a woman while his hand was on the gun.