Alcohol & Firearms at Your House

I live in Ohio. I fully understand the laws regarding concealed carry and alcohol in my state - zero tolerance. You are not allowed to have access to your firearm when out at a bar or restaurant if you have any alcohol.

My question is about when I am at home. You see, I mostly carry even when at home, and when my firearm is not on my side, it is next to me in bed or in my safe. I also enjoy some beers on the weekend when at home watching ball games or whatever. There are times when I hear strange noises in my house or suspicious activity outside my house and go to investigate - almost always with my firearm on my side (not in hand).

My question is if I need to brandish the firearm to hold an intruder until police arrive or - God forbid - have to fire it for self-defense on my own property, and I have had a few beers,… am I in serious trouble even if it was a completely justified use of a firearm?

Do the Concealed Carry laws of Ohio carry over to your house? Meaning, am I NOT supposed to touch my firearm in my house - even when I feel threatened or am investigating suspicious activity on my property - if I have been drinking any alcohol?

I know everyone’s first response is “just call the cops”, but so far every time I did go investigate a suspicious noise or activity it was either pets, kids or something just fell in my house. If I called the cops EVERY time I needs to “check something out”, the cops would put me on a “do not repond” list :slight_smile:

I’ve asked many gun groups on facebook and get so many mixed responses, but no one seems to know the exact law and they all have their own opinion of what they “think” the laws are.

Are there any attorneys or trainers out there who actually know the rules and laws of managing your firearm, under the influence of alcohol, at your own house? (and please note that this is for serious or real activities, I’m not sitting on my front porch drunk firing my weapon into the air for stupid fun)

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Welcome to the Community, @Thomas50.

I’m not an attorney and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night ;), but here is what I’ve heard from numerous attorneys over my years at USCCA - it will depend on a lot of factors.

How much have you had to drink, were you impaired, was the threat/attacker inside of your house? Every situation is different.

Clear as mud, right? :confused:

I know @MikeBKY is an attorney in a different state (not OH), and he occasionally responds to legal questions when he visits the Community. I’ll leave it up to him if he wants to weigh in.

I’ll ask @Tom_Grieve to peek at this as well when he gets a chance. Maybe he can add more clarity.

@Thomas50 I do not know the answer to your question but I will take a look to give an idea of what the law is and how I suspect the police and/or courts would respond to it. It may take me a little time but I’ll let you know what I find.

Thanks Dawn! I know its a tricky question.

@MikeBKY - appreciate it. just to clarify, I know the alcohol will be a factor in the courts, I was more interested in the immediate charge - on the spot - by an officer at the scene. I assume with any firearm discharge that results in injury, the shooter is taken for a BAC test - does that factor into charges at that time even for a justified shooting? Then what if the firearm was never discharged (brandished to remove a threat from property), does that lessen the inquiry into the BAC on the scene?

I am VERY strict when I go out to restaurants or bars. If I even THINK I might order a beer or wine with dinner, i leave my weapon home. The problem is that I HATE leaving the weapon at home so i rarely drink when out. But at home, I crack open a couple of beers on a Friday night, but then get worried that I might get some sort of felony charge and lose my license if some asshole breaks into my house and makes me defend myself.

Luckily I have never had to ever come close to pulling my firearm and hope I never do (scary to think about), but my mind cant help but to ponder these things that very well may affect me and my families quality of life.

Thanks again for looking into this. I guess the bottom line is “If Im home and have had 3 beers, and someone breaks into my house,… should I grab my firearm to deter or defend or should I leave the firearm in the safe and grab a bat or just Steven Seagal the ■■■■ out of him so I dont automatically go to jail on the spot?”

Is Ohio a retreat or no retreat state. Find out and it will give you an answer

Insert all the disclaimers here about me NOT being an Ohio attorney and therefore not being familiar with Ohio laws.

In Wisconsin, the laws concerning mixing alcohol and firearms are unfortunately (though predictably) confusing. The gist to them here is that you cannot be drinking in a bar/tavern while conceal carrying but otherwise as long as you are not impaired you are OK. Being OK does not mean you are clear from any trouble or gray area, it simply means that the government would need to find you materially impaired before charging you with a crime specific to being armed while intoxicated. It would not prevent them from using the presence of alcohol to somehow impute that the alcohol messed with your judgment otherwise. Additionally, the laws for “going armed while intoxicated” actually apply to being in your home, despite the fact that you didn’t “go” anywhere. Confusing, I realize.

Just reading the laws as they are written without understanding the case law that interprets them or the local justice system context that they are used in amounts to a, unfortunately, shallow and sometimes misleading comprehension of how this all works. Don’t shoot the messenger: I am not defending this reality, I am merely stating it from my experience.

Too long did not read: mix alcohol and firearms at your own risk and discretion, best case scenario.

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I doubt your CC statutes apply but in every state I know of there is a legal limit as to how much alcohol you can have in your system when possessing or using a firearm.

I think the doctrine of necessity would apply to a home intrusion you have to defend against but it puts you at a much higher risk of criminal liability if the case goes to a jury and most definitely if a civil suit is filed.

Maybe Mike can chime in.

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