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Do guns belong in restaurants?

2 min read


Gun control is high on the list among lawmakers at the state and federal level in the wake of December’s tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and it’s an issue that affects restaurants and bars in states where laws allow patrons to pack.

In a 2010 post, we told you about the handful of states that were passing bills to allow people with permits to bring weapons into bars, along with 18 states that permit weapons in restaurants that don’t serve alcohol, as well as 20 states that hadn’t addressed the issue one way or the other.

Now, as some states move to enact stricter gun-control laws, North Carolina lawmakers have proposed a slew of bills that go in the opposite direction, including a measure to allow weapons in restaurants, Wilmington’s Star-News reports. State law prohibits concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, which effectively bans firearms from most eateries, The Wilson Times reports. “I guarantee you that people come in here now with them,” said Jesse Clayton, who owns Jac’s Grill in Wilson. “If they pass it or they don’t pass a law that you can carry concealed, I don’t know how you’d know if they are.”

Senators in South Carolina are considering a similar measure, which, like the North Carolina proposal, would allow proprietors to post signs banning concealed weapons, according to the Independent Mail.

A Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Manassas, Va., found that such signs might not do enough to explain the rule, WUSA-TV reports. In 2010, the state made it legal for citizens with permits to carry guns into restaurants that allow it. Buffalo Wild Wings posted “no guns” signs, then ran into an issue last week when employees kicked out a group of pistol-packing plainclothes officers because they didn’t realize the rule doesn’t apply to law enforcement. A patron told WUSA that she appreciates the no-guns policy and wishes more eateries had it.

Another Virginia restaurateur is taking the opposite tack. Bryan Crosswhite says business has picked up at his Cajun Experience in Leesburg, where he promotes “Open Carry Wednesday” and offers a 10% discount to diners who come in with legally permitted weapons, Leesburg Today reports.

Have the recent tragedies and the ensuing debate changed your mind about allowing guns in your restaurant? Tell us about it in the comments.