Barry Saunders

Who can carry a concealed gun? And where? – Saunders

Sally Abrahamsen, of Pompano Beach, Fla., right, holds a Glock 42 pistol while shopping for a gun at the National Armory gun store and gun range, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pompano Beach, Fla. A new study by Harvard and Northeastern universities estimates that nearly half of the 265 million guns now owned privately belong to just 3 percent of Americans.
Sally Abrahamsen, of Pompano Beach, Fla., right, holds a Glock 42 pistol while shopping for a gun at the National Armory gun store and gun range, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pompano Beach, Fla. A new study by Harvard and Northeastern universities estimates that nearly half of the 265 million guns now owned privately belong to just 3 percent of Americans. AP

And just like that, I found the answer to the question that has confounded philosophers since 1933: What wouldn’t you do for some eggnog?

Take a chance on confronting Mr. and Mrs. Bat Masterson, that’s what.

Last Christmas Eve while stumbling into the CVS drug store on Roxboro Road for a carton of that sweet, viscous nog nectar, I reached the front door at the same time as a man and woman who had alighted from their pickup truck ahead of me.

I stopped to let them enter, barely noticing their unremarkable appearance.

That’s when I noticed something remarkable: Both had strapped onto their waists angry-looking handguns.

Were they expecting trouble on Christmas Eve? Looking for trouble? Fixing to make trouble?

The answers to those questions and more I had no intention of waiting around to find out, so I spun around at the door and went elsewhere seeking the sacchariny concoction I craved.

The couple didn’t look menacing, but the sight of their guns made me question whether I really wanted to enter the drug store. No.

I thought about Mr. and Mrs. Bat Masterson, who were openly wearing their peacekeepers last week when some state lawmakers introduced House Bill 69.

That bill, also known as the Constitution Carry Act, would obviate the need for Tar Heel citizens 18 and older to obtain a concealed carry permit to carry a rod. Toting a piece without a permit is currently a Class 2 misdemeanor.

I asked state Rep. Ken Goodman, whose district is comprised of Richmond, Robeson, Scotland and Hoke counties, what he thinks of the bill. “You can’t print what I think of it,” Goodman said Wednesday before adding, “I think it is the stupidest bill I’ve ever heard of. Where is the need for a bill like that?”

Don’t worry, Honorable, I told him. Nothing at all could go wrong with doing away with gun permits. North Carolinians should, however, ask the gun-lovin’ bill sponsors one question: What do y’all have against the Second Amendment?

By arbitrarily limiting the concealed carry bill to citizens 18 and over, the legislators are seeking to deprive Second Amendment enthusiasts under the age of 18 of their constitutionally protected right.

What about 17-year-olds, 16-year-olds, even mature 11-year-olds? Shouldn’t they, too, have the right to strap up before venturing forth into the wilds of Fuquay-Varina, Zebulon or Holly Springs?

Even before the legislators decided that removing every barrier to an armed citizenry was a good idea, I knew the vulnerability of being an unarmed dude in a fraught situation. At the late, lamented 14 Karat Dinner Theater many years ago, the usual revelry was interrupted by two men who chose that moment to fight over Bubblicious, the night’s featured attraction.

When they began pounding on each other, my running buddy and I sat there unconcerned, secure in the knowledge that their blows couldn’t reach us.

Their bullets could, though, and our sense of security was shattered when one of the combatants pulled a pistol from his sock and the other pulled one from God-knows-where. The music stopped, the DJ ducked and you can guess what happened next as they squared off. Yup, everybody in the joint pulled out a gun except my buddy and me.

We’d been silly enough to believe that the club’s “no guns” policy actually meant no guns. What it apparently meant, though, is no guns for anyone except friends of the bouncers who patted us down or boyfriends of the dancers who, we later discovered, could bypass the pat down and bring in guns and hand them to their boyfriends.

Nobody fired a single round, but we were shaken. Once safely outside, not only did we vow to never enter that sin den again – a vow we kept for 24 hours – but I also realized that everyone in there should have had a gun.

The legislators’ true anti-Second Amendment sentiment was betrayed not only by their intent to deny anyone under 18 the right to conceal carry, but also by the fact that they’ve ruled you can’t bring your gun onto State Capitol grounds or into bars, the governors mansion or courthouses.

Courthouses, too? Where else are you going to need a gun except the place where the judge just ordered you to pay your ex $30g a year – and you only make $25g?

You also can’t carry it into any place serving booze. Bartenders will love that extra responsibility of telling the morose dude at the end of the bar with the .357 poking from beneath his camo jacket, “Say, hoss. You can’t drink in here with that there.”

Rep. Goodman, asked if he thought HB 69 has any chance of passing, said, “I would never say never, but if I had to bet, I would say it won’t.”

Me? With these legislators?

I wouldn’t bet against its passage.

Barry Saunders: 919-836-2811, @BarrySaunders9

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