On Tuesday, North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill allowing gun owners with concealed-carry permits to bring their weapons to playgrounds, bars, and public recreation areas, although bar owners will still be permitted to deny entry to armed patrons. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is expected to sign the expansive bill into law soon. The measure will also allow concealed-carry permit holders to keep their guns in cars parked on school campuses. The bill was stripped of an especially extreme provision that would have eliminated the requirement for background checks or handgun permits.
Since the Newtown elementary school shooting, legislation to put guns in more places is gaining traction among Republican lawmakers, who argue that gun-free zones leave people unarmed and vulnerable to attack. But North Carolina’s plan to put guns in bars poses a far greater danger. Shootings involving alcohol are all too common. Nearly half of all homicides are preceded by some sort of argument, frequently a drunken fight over a perceived insult. Moreover, an estimated 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women who killed someone were drinking alcohol at the time.
Undeterred by this data, North Carolina Republicans embraced the bill along with an onslaught of radical legislation targeting poor people, women, and minorities. Residents are fighting back with widespread “Moral Monday” protests. As of this week, 900 North Carolinians have been arrested in these demonstrations.