AZ court rules on preemption…of alcohol

Interesting news out of Arizona in regards to state preemption, but not of guns:

Scottsdale police are no longer permitted to cite or arrest someone solely on the basis of being incapacitated by alcohol in public.

[…]

The opinion stated that Scottsdale’s public-intoxication ordinance is pre-empted by a 1972 state law that prohibits local laws from criminalizing “being a common drunkard or being found in an intoxicated condition.”

The court maintained that it was clearly the state’s intent at the time to treat alcoholism as a disease rather than criminal behavior, unless a person under the influence was also engaging in activities, such as driving.

Makes perfect sense to me, but then I live in Switzerland where the drinking age for wine and beer is 16 (18 for spirits), drinking in public is perfectly legal, and it’s quite common to see teenagers enjoying a beer while chatting with friends in a park or on the sidewalk, businessmen having a drink on the train ride home, etc.

I’ve even seen soldiers on their way to training get onto a train, place their duffel bag and unloaded rifle on the luggage rack, then have a beer. The horror.

So long as someone is not violating other laws or being dangerously unsafe (such as driving while under the influence, being rowdy and disorderly, trespassing, threatening others, etc.) I have no problem with them being peaceably intoxicated whether in private or public. If they start causing disruptions, then there’s a problem, but otherwise I see no issue.

No surprise, the Scottsdale police don’t seem to have an issue with the law being overturned:

Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said officers didn’t often use the ordinance when it was in effect.

Typically, those who demand the attention of law enforcement are committing another crime as well, he said.

[…]

Clark said there are other tools police can use to ensure the safety of those who are inebriated.

An officer may help someone get a ride home or cite them for another violation, such as disorderly conduct.

Yum

I’m a big fan of scotch whisky.

Evidently the Japanese went to Scotland a while back and learned quite a few tricks from them. I bought a bottle of exceedingly tasty Yamazaki 12-year-old whisky. Nom indeed, particularly for the price ($35/bottle). Takes like fine scotch.

Highly recommended.

Observations of a Gunfight


(Video courtesy of CBS News)

Evidently there was a gunfight in Toledo, Ohio on October 8th.

According to the police (as reported by CBS), there were five gunmen involved in a fight. The fight was evidently sparked when the barman asked a patron selling marijuana to leave.

I’ve made a few observations:

  • Security cameras always seem to produce video inadequate to identify people depicted in the image.
  • The barman rapidly produces his cellphone, presumably to call the police, after the first fight starts.
  • Many people fled immediately. This is smart.
  • Some people remained to engage in a gun battle. This is stupid, particularly if the police are on the way.
  • Running back into the building to engage in further gun battle is really stupid.
  • There were no observable weapon malfunctions. Whether this is due to regular maintenance by the gunmen, luck, or some other condition is unknown.
  • It is illegal for people to carry firearms in establishments that serve alcohol in Ohio. They did so anyway. Clearly, criminals are not deterred by nor do they obey such laws.
  • If you wish to hit your target, aiming is important. These individuals did not aim well.
  • Very few objects in a bar offer cover, rather than concealment.
  • All participants in the gunfight used semi-auto pistols, rather than revolvers. According to the police, 17 casings were found at the scene. This is a substantial amount of evidence for police.

Based on these observations, I’ll be bold enough to make  a few recommendations:

  • Avoid gunfights wherever possible.
  • This can usually be accomplished by staying out of seedy places and staying away from seedy people.
  • You should be aware of the mood in a bar. If things start getting tense, seriously consider leaving.
  • Once things go tits-up (e.g. a fight starts), it’s time to leave. Now.
  • If, for some reason, you decide to stick around after the barfight, be aware of patrons drawing guns. Once this happens, there is no possible way that the situation will improve. Get out. Now.
  • Gunfights are like fires: you should flee in the most expedient manner possible and remain out of harms way. I can’t think of a single reason why an everyday person should ever consider returning to a gunfight. You should absolutely not, under any circumstances, return to the gunfight to continue fighting.
  • If you are deploying security cameras, get good ones. High-quality video and sound recording is very useful.
  • If it is necessary to call 911, it’s preferably to do so from a landline phone. This has the advantage of immediately displaying the exact address of the phone that placed the call, which can speed police response considerably.
  • Violent criminals do not obey the law, and violent crime can occur anywhere.
  • If you are willing and able to carry in a safe and responsible manner, do so. While fleeing to safety is almost always the best thing to do (and fortunately seemed to be possible for every innocent bystander in this incident), it’s not always possible — a gun can give one a fighting chance of surviving and escaping if left with no other option.

Of course, the best advice of all is to simply avoid fights and, by extension, gunfights.

News About Guns-In-Restaraunts

The Arizona Republic has a remarkably well-balanced, informative article about the subject.

Of course, they use the word “toting” in reference to the lawful carriage of arms, which always bugs me, but isn’t a huge deal.

Naturally, there’s an enormous amount of PSH in the comments, which is to be expected. Accusations abound about how strawmen gun-owners will get “extremely drunk” and shoot people, and at least one commenter has mentioned that he will avoid patronizing bars that don’t have “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED” signs, as if that will somehow magically protect him. Several other commenters have mentioned how they will cease patronizing bars altogether.

Somehow, I suspect that business will carry on as usual.

I encourage readers to contact local establishments that post “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED” signs and politely voice their opposition to the prohibition. If enough patrons bring it up, it may cause them to reconsider.

Anti-Rights Establishments in Arizona

Arizona’s restaurant carry law comes into effect on September 30th, 2009.

Some proprietors are putting up “no firearms allowed” signs. Naturally, such signs only apply to law-abiding people; criminals will continue to ignore them, just as they ignore the law about carrying in places that serve alcohol presently.

While restaurant and bar owners are certainly within their rights — which I respect — to post such a sig, I’m within my rights to choose not to patronize those establishments and to compile and publish a list of such places. I feel that they’re infringing on my right to self-defense, and as such I don’t feel that they deserve my business.

I figured that other people would be interested in the list, which is updated periodically, so I’ve made it available here.

If you’re aware of an establishment that prohibits the lawful carriage of arms, I would much appreciate it if you could help contribute to my list by filling out this form. Arizona establishments only, please.

Update: (5/28/10) I’ve decided to take this information offline for the time being. I may bring it back in the future. In the interim, I continue to welcome submissions at the above link.

Beverage of Choice

It’s been recently reported that North Carolina may soon legalize1 beer tastings, bringing them to parity with existing laws on wine tasting.

My response: “Took you long enough!” The depths of stupidity that alcohol-related laws in various states plumb amaze me sometimes. What possible reasons could there be to prohibit the public sampling of various beers?

Of course, there’s always someone who has to be a downer:

Criticism of his proposal comes from social conservatives who say beer has more potential for abuse than wine.

Beer is “disproportionately consumed in hazardous amounts,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, director of the Christian Action League of N.C., which says beer accounts for 81 percent of all alcohol drunk in such excessive amounts.

It’s also “the beverage of choice for underage drinkers,” Creech told lawmakers.

This “[insert-item-here] of choice” logic2 seems to be something that anti-rights people share, whether they’re opposed to upstanding people possessing guns, sampling beer, or other similar things.

Just as a criminal using a handgun to rob a convenience store should have no bearing whatsoever on my ability to acquire, own, and use handguns in a safe, responsible manner, underage drinkers drinking beer3 should have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not an adult should be able to go to a public beer tasting.

Do some people drink alcohol to excess? Absolutely. Does beer make up the majority of alcohol drunk to excess? I have no idea, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. Is beer the “beverage of choice” for underage drinkers? I don’t doubt it. Even so, those claims do not matter, because we’re talking about beer tasting in licensed retail stores by adults. The law even limits someone to four (down from six) 2-ounce samples (which I find absurd) per event — that’s two-thirds of a single can of beer. What’s the problem here?

Remember, gun control isn’t about guns — it’s about control. The same thing goes for alcohol control laws.

Anyone find any other topics where “[something] of choice” was an argument used by someone trying to make or keep something illegal or restricted? What about citing the illegal actions and behaviors of minors or criminals in an attempt to restrict the actions of law-abiding adults?

  1. I hate using that term, as the default state of rights is “on” — laws shouldn’t ever need to “allow” something, as all actions that don’t infringe on others rights are, by default, “on” unless a law exists that restricts them. []
  2. It’s hardly logical. []
  3. Most likely because it’s cheap and “gets the job done.” []