Each year in the United States, there are about 26,000 deaths that are related to gun violence. That is about twice the number of people who die on our nation’s highways in accidents that involve someone driving while drunk. Both numbers, thankfully, have been on the decline in recent years.
But that still adds up to about 40,000 deaths in this country a year — or enough people to populate two towns the size of Lumberton. That is a lot of senseless mayhem.
With that in mind, we wonder what prompted legislation from House Republicans that would more easily mix guns and alcohol. The legislation, should it become law, allows people with concealed-weapon permits to carry a weapon into restaurants that serve alcohol — unless the business conspicuously posts signage saying no weapons allowed. The legislation would also allow concealed weapons inside state parks, and would ban local governments from posting no-weapons signs on parks they operate.
This isn’t a Second Amendment issue, although supporters are likely to argue otherwise. The right to gun ownership certainly doesn’t have attached the green light to take a weapon anywhere and everywhere and all the time.
House Republicans, in arguing the need for the bill’s passage, have mentioned the incident that happened in a Fayetteville restaurant, Luigi’s, in 1993, when a deranged soldier shot and killed four people and injured six more. The implication is that if a restaurant patron possessed a concealed weapon that day, that the shooter might have been wounded or killed before the carnage count got so high.
We won’t even debate that suggestion, despite the ease with which a counterargument, one that would include the possibility of even more deaths and injuries that day, could be launched.
So let’s assume the only life lost that day was the shooter’s. Now consider the number of lives that might have been lost in the interim because someone carrying a weapon inside a restaurant had one or a few too many drinks and then got into an argument with someone for looking at him the wrong way. We are convinced that number would easily surpass six.
This legislation looks like a fix in search of a problem. There simply is no strong argument to allow people to begin carrying weapons into establishments where alcohol flows freely.
Lawmakers, armed with commonsense, should quickly shoot it down.