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In My Opinion


When out drinking, should you bring a designated vigilante?

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

I’m not feeling it.

I had expected to feel safer today, now that it is legal to take your gun into a bar.

That’s one of the new laws that take effect this month in North Carolina. Unofficially known as the “Secure Saloon Act,” it allows people who have concealed-weapon permits to accompany their firearms into taverns.

People who think it’s a tad reckless to mix cocktails and gunpowder have no reason to get upset. Under the law, the pistol-packing patron is not supposed to drink alcohol. They’re just there for the pickled pig’s feet, you see, and maybe some soda water.

What worries me, though, is that I have long suspected there are two classes of gun owners.

First are those who are rigorously careful. They go to the trouble of getting a concealment permit from the sheriff. They will not let their children touch a weapon until they’ve been through an NRA safe firearms course. They invest in gun locks. They recognize that bearing arms is not only a right but a responsibility.

I’m not worried about them. I’ve known plenty who fit that description, and they’re fine with me. They’re not the kind to tote their firearms into the tavern under any circumstances.

I’m worried about the other class. I’m worried about the reckless kooks who would want to bring a gun into a bar in the first place, law or no law.

You don’t need a lot of imagination to come up with various scenarios that would end badly, particularly those of you who have watched a lot of Westerns. For those without imagination, just read up on the club shootings in Charlotte recently.

This isn’t strictly about guns, either. You shouldn’t bring tire irons, bricks or nuclear weapons into bars. At best, it ruins the mood.

Did we really need to sanction this? Is there a public safety issue we’re addressing?

I’m not feeling it.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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