It's a rare circumstance indeed, but I give kudos to North Carolina's state government. Recently, Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation that allows gun owners with concealed carry permits to take their firearms into restaurants and bars. Additionally, the measure allows concealed carry on greenways, playgrounds, and other public recreation areas as well as permitting the storage of weapons in locked vehicles on the campuses of public schools and universities.
It should be noted that the legislation provides for a great degree of local control. Private property is respected by giving bar and restaurant owners the right to forbid guns on their premises. Municipal governments retain the right to pass ordinances restricting concealed carry on public land.
In light of all of the shooting tragedies in public places in recent years, North Carolina's new gun law represents a common-sense approach to self-defense and crime prevention. There is no softer target for a deranged assailant than a gun-free zone. Just knowing that someone in a public place could possess the means to defend themselves and others will deter some criminals from striking. Those undeterred could find themselves the victim of their own criminal madness.
If only Suzanna Hupp had been permitted, under Texas law, on October 16, 1991, to bring her firearm into a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. On that day, while having lunch with her parents, George Hennard crashed his truck into the front of the restaurant and proceeded to gun down 23 people including both of Hupp's parents. Hupp, a gun owner, instinctively reached for her .38 revolver, only to realize she had left it locked in her vehicle because Texas had just passed a new law banning concealed carry. There is no question that if given the opportunity, Hupp might have prevented some of the carnage.
To be sure, there have been many other times when law-abiding gun owners could have saved lives if they were allowed to pack heat in public places. Conversely, many gun owners have saved lives through the benefit of concealed carry laws and by being at the right place at the right time. Back in 1995, the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology at Northwestern University School of Law published a study that indicated that law-abiding gun owners use their weapons for defensive purposes as many as 2.5 million times a year. This calculates to guns being used 60 times more to protect innocent lives than being used in the commission of a crime. Thus, loosening gun laws would make us safer because it would give responsible gun owners more ability to intervene in crisis situations like Aurora, Colorado, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook Elementary.
It's common sense that gun control laws only disarm law-abiding citizens leaving them vulnerable to the whims of criminals. Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, continues to experience high rates of gun violence.
Gun control laws are inhumane. They leave gun owners like Suzanna Hupp defenseless and helpless to save lives in a crisis.
That is why North Carolina's new gun law is a common sense approach to self-defense and crime prevention. It gives responsible gun owners the ability to save lives in a crisis.