When Ohio's concealed-carry law was enacted in 2004, opponents warned it would lead to Wild West shootouts on the streets. They were wrong. The legislation licensing qualified Ohioans to carry concealed firearms, forged through years of tough debate, struck a sometimes awkward yet reasonable balance between liberty and safety.
But now, Ohio lawmakers, with signals of support from Gov. John Kasich, are poised to upset that balance with a measure to allow concealed weapons in any establishment, whether a sports stadium, five-star restaurant or corner saloon that serves alcohol -- spiking an already volatile substance with added potential danger.
This is a bad idea, even if four other states (Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia and Virginia) already allow guns in bars. Lawmakers in the Ohio House, which approved the measure 56-40 recently, and in the Senate, which passed its own version of the bill 25-7 in April, should reconsider -- and get plenty of second opinions from voters.
Now, we believe in citizens' Second Amendment right and recognize that legal experts and courts are increasingly taking the view that it is an individual right.
But this is getting a little creepy. As now-Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor wrote in a 2003 decision, "The police, the state, the legislature have the right to regulate the right to bear arms. It's not an unfettered right."