A foolish gun bill

February 1, 2013 

No, apparently they are not kidding. Several Republican legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly are sponsoring a measure to allow concealed handguns in restaurants and in bars that serve enough food to be considered primarily eating establishments. What can we say?

For starters, are these lawmakers aware that even their conservative allies in the United States Congress are pondering stronger gun regulation in the wake of the murders of 20 children and 6 adults in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.? Are they also aware that on Wednesday, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, critically wounded by a gunman in 2011 while meeting with people in her Arizona district, gave moving testimony before a congressional meeting on the subject?

One wonders what the thinking was here, if any. Let’s see, there have been entirely too many shootings in public places in the last decade, so let’s allow more guns in more places. Brilliant!

The bill must give restaurant owners a considerable, well, stomach ache. They’ll be able to post signs prohibiting guns, but some gun owner with an appetite might sue over that provision. And it’s hard to see how a posted sign would protect the owners from liability.

And then there’s another legislative proposal to allow local school boards to appoint school marshals who would complete a training course and then carry guns on campuses.

That would convey to students exactly what one activist with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence said it would, a “militarized environment.” That is not appropriate. And with non-law enforcement people, even those with a training course behind them, carrying guns, security would be a concern: what if someone accidentally left a gun unattended?

What can we say?

Just this: No and no.

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