Dealing with Restaurants That Serve Alcohol While Carrying Concealed: MCRGO Frequently Asked Question
Q: What am I supposed to do if I choose to eat in a restaurant that serves alcohol while I am carrying my concealed pistol?
A: Assuming that you have a valid CPL (Concealed Pistol License), and that the restaurant is not considered a tavern or bar (defined as an establishment that derives more than half of its income from the sale of alcohol by the glass), the other issue is the rights of private property owner or lessor. If the management of the restaurant has a no guns policy that is communicated to you in any reasonable manner, including signage, verbally etc. then you are trespassing if you carry your pistol on the premises. Private property owners have the right to set conditions on your entry onto their private property; and if you violate those conditions, you are trespassing.
If you choose to drink alcohol, and plan to stay below the .08 BAC level and drive yourself, or plan to ride with a sober driver, you must be sure to store your pistol so that you are not carrying it concealed. Essentially, you must put it in what is commonly referred to as “transport mode.”
MCL 28.425k(3) states: “This section does not prohibit an individual licensed under this act to carry a concealed pistol who has any bodily alcohol content from transporting that pistol in the locked trunk of his or her motor vehicle or another motor vehicle in which he or she is a passenger or, if the vehicle does not have a trunk, from transporting that pistol unloaded in a locked compartment or container that is separated from the ammunition for that pistol or on a vessel if the pistol is transported unloaded in a locked compartment or container that is separated from the ammunition for that pistol.”
Keep in mind that, according to the same statue, by accepting your CPL, you have consented to a search of your breath, blood, or urine in exactly the same way that you did when you accepted your Driver's License: “(1) Acceptance of a license issued under this act to carry a concealed pistol constitutes implied consent to submit to a chemical analysis under this section.” This means that, as long as a law enforcement officer has probable cause, you must submit to such a test for alcohol, or controlled substances. If you refuse, your refusal will be reported to your county gun board and: “(ii) The refusal may result in his or her license to carry a concealed pistol being suspended or revoked.”
So, the mere fact that an establishment happens to serve alcohol does not mean that you cannot be armed there. However, you cannot carry your pistol in a bar. And, you cannot drink while carrying. The statute lays out a BAC level of .02, which is best treated as a zero-tolerance standard.
Steve Dulan (www.StevenWDulan.com) is a member of the Board of Directors of the MCRGO and the MCRGO Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the MCRGO Foundation. He is an attorney in private practice in East Lansing and Adjunct Professor of firearms law at The Thomas M. Cooley Law School. as well as an NRA Life Member.
The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Formed from just eight people in 1996, we now have thousands of members and numerous affiliated clubs across the state. We’re growing larger and more effective every day.
Our mission statement is: “Promoting safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation” Visit: www.mcrgo.org