So, not only did North Carolina release HB 589 (a new voter suppression measure) yesterday, it also passed a bill that will allow guns in all alcohol-serving establishments. Because that's totally a great idea.
HB 937 passed the House 73-41 and then the Senate 32-14, largely along party lines. The GOP-backed bill will allow "concealed-carry" permit-holders (each permit is valid for five years by the way) to take guns into bars, restaurants, basically anywhere there's alcohol, unless the owner explicitly forbids it.
Even worse? The bill will also make it legal to bring firearms to public recreation areas and playgrounds. (The number of times I've been near a slide and thought, Damn, wish I had my rifle right now!) It'll also allow permit-holders to store weapons in locked vehicles on school and university campuses.
It's the first time in over a century that the North Carolina governorship and the Legislature have been controlled by Republicans. Backlash to the new conservative agenda has prompted "Moral Monday" protests, organized by the NAACP. Nearly 1,000 people have been arrested in the demonstrations so far, and about 77 arrests every Monday for the last three months on average.Democrats are also decrying the recent legislation.
"Republicans in the General Assembly have no concept of consequences. They have shown that time and time again," said state Democratic Party spokesman Micah Beasley. "Guns and alcohol don't mix. Guns at town parades or at playgrounds with our children is unacceptable. Guns on campus make our college students less safe. To add insult to injury this legislation undermines our local sheriffs' ability to make their towns and cities safe."
The final version of HB 937 did at least drop a provision that would have repealed the law requiring a background check and permit for gun purchases.
The bill is now on it's way to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's desk for his signature.