There’s an old adage, “A man’s home is his castle.”
There’s an Amendment to the US Constitution prohibiting any level of government from infringing the inherent right to keep and bear arms.
But a new court case explicitly shows us that neither of those standards currently apply in Ohio.
Ohio’s WSAZ and the Associated Press report that the Ohio Supreme Court in February will hear the appeal of “State of Ohio v Frederick M. Weber”, a case informing us that the state government already infringes on both of those time-honored principles.
The details are simple, as spelled out in the government documents:
Around 4:00 a.m. on February 17, 2018, a deputy and a sergeant from the Clermont County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to appellant's home following the 9-1-1 call of his wife reporting that appellant was in possession of a firearm and intoxicated. When the officers arrived at the scene, appellant's wife advised them that everything was alright as appellant had put the firearm away.
At this point, within the parameters of their statutes, the police should leave. The woman is not pressing charges for criminal threatening or verbal or physical assault, nor is she asking for immediate assistance.
And this where things become legally nebulous and head towards the obscenely unconstitutional.
The deputy asked her if they could enter the home and she escorted them inside. Once inside, the officers observed appellant coming out of a doorway, holding a shotgun by the stock with the barrel pointed down. Appellant told the officers that the shotgun was unloaded and that he was unloading it to wipe it down. The officers took possession of the shotgun and confirmed it was unloaded. The officers did not observe any ammunition for the shotgun While interacting with appellant, the deputy detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage on appellant's person. Appellant's eyes were bloodshot and glassy, his speech was slurred, and he was unsteady on his feet. Appellant was unable to complete a field sobriety test because he could not follow directions.
Lots of constitutional problems now. This is private property, and no civilian has made a claim of any criminal conduct on the part of the man, Mr. Weber.
Furthermore, he was swaying while standing in the instruction position. Appellant stated several times that he was drunk. The officers described appellant as 'very intoxicated,' 'very impaired,' and 'highly intoxicated.'
And at this point, the police appear to have made a further mistake, both logically, and constitutionally:
Appellant was charged by complaint with one count of using weapons while intoxicated in violation of R.C. 2923.15, a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Of course, Mr. Weber was not “using” the firearm, but that’s not what the statute concerns. The 2006 statute stipulates that anyone “carrying” a firearm while intoxicated shall be guilty of the misdemeanor crime.
So, Weber was holding an unloaded gun in his own home, and was not suspected or accused of committing any crime against anyone.
This is a much bigger case than the silence of the pop media would indicate.
To clarify how important it is, let’s take a look at a slightly similar case from Idaho, which Joe Biden might confuse with Ohio, to follow his recent gaff about Ohio being Iowa.
There, a resident of Twin Falls named Kenneth D. Sartin pled guilty to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two misdemeanor counts of injury to a child when, according to the court, he came home drunk from a party and got in an argument with his wife.
As the argument escalated, Sartin took a pistol and fired it 10 times in the bedroom while his wife was present.
The cases are similar in that both men were drunk and in their own homes.
The cases are dissimilar in that the Idaho man fired his weapon ten times, putting the lives of others in danger.
The idea that the state of Ohio can apply an already constitutionally questionable statute regarding public intoxication and public possession of a gun to a matter inside a man’s home goes far beyond not only what the statute appears to have been designed to do, it breaches many principles of the Fourth Amendment against unwarranted searches and seizures and the bedrock principle of the right to keep and bear arms.
If a man’s home is not his castle, is it, as Al Bundy used to say on the television series, “Married: With Children”, his coffin? How many times have homeowners had firearms in their possession while being intoxicated? While it might not be what one would prefer, it certainly is not a direct threat against the life or liberty of any other person, and the firearm has not been used to harm another person.
And how about outside?
That might appear to be a trickier question, but, in reality, it’s not, for two reasons.
First, the US Constitution prohibits any government from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. It doesn’t specify that only sober people are supposed to retain that right. Second, there likely are thousands of people each year who carry firearms while drunk, and some of them might have to protect themselves. Much as I wouldn’t want to be around them, it’s not my place to tell them I will take that gun away – unless they directly threaten me with it.
This might seem a more difficult issue, certainly. And it’s trickier because of the presence of public property. Under private property paradigms, property owners are free to ask visitors to disarm – just the kind of thing many bar owners in the 19th Century used to do in rural America. But on public property, the variations and vicissitudes of peoples’ lives present so many differing possibilities, a statute could protect one person while placing many others in jeopardy. And, of course, tax money is taken from people in order to execute the laws, pay the police, and run the courts – all to handle statutes about public intoxication and firearms that run counter to the Second Amendment and can put lives in danger while trying to protect others.
While the issue of Ohio’s statute regarding drunk people retaining their right to keep and bear arms may seem more problematic, the answer lies in knowing that a government “resolution” of the issue creates more complications and infringes on rights.
Meanwhile, the real answer that can be found in private property control is being trampled, because, in the eyes of the government, a man’s home really is not his castle.
And it seems that that they don’t see the right to keep and bear arms as a right at all.