Businesses worry over impact of allowing, barring guns
Posted May 7, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — With the state House poised to give final approval Tuesday to legislation that would expand the number of places in North Carolina where people can carry concealed weapons, some business owners expressed reservations about the idea.
House Bill 937 would allow permit holders to have concealed weapons on greenways and bike trails, at sporting events and in businesses that serve alcohol. Also, concealed weapons could be locked in vehicles on community college and university campuses.
Proponents say the bill, which still must pass the Senate, protects and expands the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while increasing punishment for those who use guns in the commission of crimes.
"I think it's a good idea," Sherwood Spicer said. "Why have (guns) in one place and not in another?"
Restaurant patron Fred Corbett said allowing guns in restaurants and bars would provide added protection.
"Crook comes in the door going to cause bodily harm, hey, take him out," Corbett said.
Under the bill, private establishments would still be able to prohibit firearms by posting a sign saying they aren't allowed. Some business owners said they worry about alienating potential customers.
"I want to be kind of neutral towards it," restaurateur Mario Longo said. "We do have a right to say no or yes, so that's one of the things we're going to weigh."
Some people said a "no firearms" sign or the lack of one would impact whether they would patronize a specific restaurant.
"It's one thing to protect your home, but when you're going out in the public, I wouldn't have it," Vanessa Riddle said. "I see totally that point of view, but from someone who comes from a peaceful heart, I just don't see the necessity of it."
"I just don't think, for the general public, it's a good idea. We're not going back to cowboy days," James Peterkin said.
PNC Arena, which is state-owned but privately managed, has no plans to change its no-guns policy, General Manager Davin Olsen said.
"This is the best way to ensure public safety," Olsen said.
University of North Carolina officials have criticized the legislation, saying guns on campuses decrease safety for students, staff and visitors. Private colleges could opt not to permit weapons on campus.
Municipalities also would no longer be able to ban firearms in local parks and trails.
"You have children and small kids around. It's not safe," Kevin Anderson said. "I would fear for (my son's) safety as well as mine."