Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Restaurant Carry Passed NC Legislature

Here in North Carolina, the legislature has passed H. B. 937, Amend Various Firearm Laws.  It now goes to Governor McCrory to sign.  Among the things included in this bill are provisions allowing the carrying of concealed handguns by concealed carry licensees (CHL) in restaurants that serve alcohol, and carrying venues that charge a fee for entrance.

Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) has long fought for restaurant carry.  Opponents charge that if they allow concealed carriers to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol, that there will be shoot outs in restaurants where they and their kids are, causing blood in the aisle, over an undercooked hamburger, because some drunk decides to play vigilante.  Besides that, there is a general feeling among hoplophobes that they just don't want to believe that they could be sitting next to someone who is carrying a gun.  GRNC has pointed out that even if people with a CHL can carry in these restaurants, they can not drink alcoholic beverages while carrying.  We have pointed out that States and Commonwealths around us, including Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia all have restaurant carry, with no ill effects.  Virginia is a good example, as they had restrictions, but lifted them.  One year after lifting restrictions, there was no change in the crime rate at restaurants that serve alcohol.

The restriction from carrying in places that charge a fee for entrance was, I suspect, a case of painting with too broad a brush.  The term includes rock concerts and the State and County fairs, but also includes movie theaters and your daughter's ballet recitals.  North Carolinians with a CHL can now, under this bill, carry in these venues unless they post a "no guns" sign.

The bill was held up by the North Carolina Sheriff's Association (NCSA) because they did not want to lose the funding that comes from issuing pistol permits to people without a CHL.  The pistol permit is a Jim Crow era law, originally designed to keep blacks and certain other undesirables from obtaining pistols.  It is both an embarrassment, and a redundancy.  It is embarrassing because of the discriminatory nature of the law.  It is redundant because now that we have the NICS background checks in place, there is no reason to have a second background check.  As Paul Valone said in an alert sent late yesterday:

Although full repeal of the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit law did not remain in the bill, thanks to your input and the efforts of Senator Buck Newton (R-Johnston, Nash, Wilson, GRNC ****), the following improvements were made:


  • Prohibits sheriffs from limiting the number of permits issued;
  • Prohibits additional fees for permits;
  • Requires sheriffs to list statutory reasons for denial;
  • Requires sheriffs to keep de-identified records on why permits are denied; and
  • Places the burden on sheriffs to revoke permits from those commit disqualifying offenses.

Overall, H. B. 937 is good law, and I urge the Governor to sign it. 

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