Both chambers of the North Carolina legislature have passed a bill that would allow residents with a concealed handgun permit, to carry their gun into bars and nightclubs that serve alcohol. If Republican Governor Pat McCrory signs the bill into law, North Carolina residents will be able to carry concealed handguns into the state’s bars and nightclubs, unless those clubs expressly prohibit admitting anyone with a concealed handgun. Guns, alcohol and crowds of people under the influence, what could possibly go wrong?
Surely somewhere Wayne LaPierre is smiling and thinking to himself, “the only thing that stops a drunk guy with a gun, is a drunker guy with a gun”. Of all the things the North Carolina lawmakers could have been thinking, one wonders why the idea that bars and night clubs need more guns was one of them.
After all, the bill was passed on the one month anniversary of the shooting death of 22-year old Alejandro Alavarez who was murdered outside Skandalo’s Nightclub in Charlotte, when an ordinary fight escalated into the fatal shooting. Nine days earlier, Cedric Miller was shot to death outside Duke’s Nightclub, also in Charlotte. Earlier in the year Paul Anthony Fyffe Jr. was shot and killed outside Club 935 in Charlotte. In April an altercation turned deadly in Wilson County, North Carolina when Christopher Barnes shot and killed Travis Hilliard and wounded Antonio Montreal outside Oscar’s Lounge with a 9 mm handgun. In February, one man was fatally shot and three others wounded at the Nitty Gritty Restaurant and Nightclub in Winston-Salem. At least, three of the four men were shot inside the club, while the fourth may have been wounded in the parking lot.
A Goldsboro strip joint, Teaser’s Night Club, had its alcohol permit pulled by the North Carolina ABC Commission late last year after a fatal shooting in the rest room. The club also had a previous shooting incident which occurred inside the bar in 2011. In May of this year, three people were shot and wounded inside the Boom Boom Room nightclub in Elizabethtown. An April shooting at Flyer’s Bar in Havelock claimed the life of Todd North, an ex-Marine who served as the head of Security for the bar. North was killed trying to prevent a teenager who had been thrown out of the bar earlier from returning. Though North was armed and able to return fire he apparently failed to connect while his assailant delivered a fatal bullet wound to North during the altercation.
In a shooting that began as an argument between two woman over a man, Krystal David opened fire in a Smithfield Sports Bar that seriously wounded four bystanders. Like most of the nightclub shootings in North Carolina that incident took place in the early morning hours, when people who have been drinking all evening are most likely to be fortified with alcohol and poor judgement. The lethal cocktail of guns and alcohol is now being served, pending the Governor’s signature, courtesy of the North Carolina legislature, despite the fact that the state has already had multiple fatal night club shootings in 2013.
Despite this series of murders, North Carolina’s Republican dominated legislature has decided that allowing more guns in bars is actually a good idea. While lawmakers have argued that permit holders are not a threat because they have passed gun safety courses, one has to wonder how many of them passed those courses after powering down a six-pack of beer and a couple shots of Bourbon. Alcohol impairs judgment and allowing bar patrons to carry guns is a recipe for more arguments and fist fights to become deadly gun battles.
In addition, the Charlotte Observer found that in Mecklenburg County alone, sixty convicted felons hold legal handgun permits including five who were convicted of armed robbery, three who were convicted of manslaughter and one that was convicted of second-degree murder. Over two hundred permit holders in the county had drug crime convictions. If Pat McCrory signs the bill into law, these convicted felons will be legally permitted to carry a concealed handgun into a bar in North Carolina.
In the same bill, the legislature also permits guns on playgrounds, at parades and in funeral processions. Perhaps, gun owners have reason to be especially pleased with the right to carry at a funeral procession, because after a Saturday night at the club goes awry, they may find themselves attending a funeral for a fallen buddy. After your friend gets gunned down after a bar room brawl turns deadly, the best way to honor him is to bring a gun to his funeral. You had just better hope they are not serving alcohol.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.