Require Club 106 To Follow the Rules

How private enterprises are run usually is none of the government’s business. When they threaten the public’s health and/or safety, however, that is another story.

In late April 2017, the Club 106 in Steubenville was closed for a year, by court order. The establishment was a public nuisance, municipal officials said. State agents found violations of liquor laws. A raid on the club months before resulted in seizure of alcohol, pills and marijuana.

Club 106 owner Derek R. Smith was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but a judge suspended that and placed him on probation for three years.

With the year-long period over, Club 106 reopened recently. It did not take long for trouble to occur.

Early Thursday morning, gunfire erupted inside the club. One man was killed. Two were wounded. Local and state law enforcement agencies are investigating.

Occurring as it did just days after the club reopened, the shootings may have been just a tragic coincidence.

It can be difficult to control patrons at any business. Club 106 management may be playing by the rules, attempting to run a safe, legal establishment.

That can be done. In Wheeling, local officials had considered attempting to close a bar as a public nuisance last year. It, too, seemed to be a magnet for trouble.

But new management and stricter rules were put in place, and that bar remains open. We have heard no complaints about it recently.

So it can be done. Second chances can pay off.

Still, the gunfire last week at Club 106 is worrisome. Local and state officials should keep their eyes wide open regarding the club. If it has returned to being a public nuisance, steps should be taken to seek a court order closing it again — perhaps permanently, this time.

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