Politics is dominated by sound bites meant to generate emotion, not rational discourse. One of the most dominant sound bites in recent North Carolina politics is that the law now allows people to carry “guns in bars.” Upon hearing those three words, “guns in bars,” people recoil in horror. The very idea that North Carolina is full of bars where people are packing heat is enough to make tourists avoid the state altogether. However, when one compares the old gun law with the new one, things make perfect sense.
On October 1st, North Carolina’s absolute ban on handguns in all restaurants serving alcohol expired. That evening, I just happened to go into such a restaurant with a friend and fellow concealed weapons permit holder. Like me, she is an opponent of a statewide government-imposed ban. Our experience in the restaurant/bar that evening may sound amusing to most readers. But it actually sheds light on why the expired gun law left a lot to be desired.