An Ohio man is challenging his conviction for being in possession of a firearm while intoxicated. The Ohio Supreme Court voted 4-3 to hear his appeal.
Fredrick M. Weber, of Felicity east of Cincinnati, was admittedly drunk on Feb. 17, 2018, in his own home when a county deputy sheriff and sergeant arrived after being summoned by his wife. Mr. Weber walked into the room with a shotgun, the barrel pointed down. The officers confirmed it was unloaded, and they never saw ammunition in the gun.
Mr. Weber told them he’d been unloading the gun to wipe it down.
He was charged with violating a state law passed in 1974 that prohibits the carrying or use of a firearm while intoxicated. It’s a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
I don’t know of anyone who’d argue that alcohol and guns are a good mix and no responsible person gets three sheets to the wind and parades around armed like Yosemite Sam. It’s not responsible people committing the crimes or engaging in negligence, though. This doesn’t seem to be the main focus of the argument. The concern that I and others have is how far will the state intrude to regulate policy. Will “possession” be redefined to simply indicated firearms within the home while the homeowner has a glass of wine? Will this extend to vehicles parked in the drive? Is it the expectation that if someone breaks into your home after you’ve had a couple drinks you’re to surrender your life so you’re not charged with using your retrieved firearm in self defense while inebriated? Zealous, anti-gun attorneys would love to exploit this as a new mechanism for limiting rights. I hope the Ohio Supreme Court doesn’t give them that opportunity.