Concealed Carry: Gun law changes go into effect
(www.morganton.com) BY ROBERT BOYER -James Gaither Jr., the district attorney for North Carolina’s 25th Prosecutorial District, was asked about a new concealed-carry law that went into effect Oct. 1, which allows permit holders to carry concealed guns into bars and restaurants unless owners expressly forbid it. Those who go into such establishments can’t partake of alcohol or controlled substances. “My immediate reaction would be one really to weigh the interests that are in conflict with each other in my opinion, which is the interest of a private business to regulate what goes on inside its business,” Gaither Jr. said. “I think it’s important for business owners to be able to determine for themselves what’s best for their business and what’s best for their clientele and what it is that they think that they need to do to be able to have a secure business … To me, it’s just a fundamental right of a business to be able to do that unless their violating something like discrimination that has to do with discrimination of race or religion or nationality.”
Patrons of bars and restaurants can choose to take their business elsewhere, Gaither Jr. said, and
Business owners should be able to regulate their businesses.
Gaither said he is a firm believer in Second Amendment rights.
“I’m an extremely strong advocate of the Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Gaither Jr. said. “I feel the right to bear arms by those who haven’t broken the laws, who aren’t convicted felon, who understand and are responsible with gun safety and understand how the proper use and handling of a handgun (works).”
Gaither Jr. said he “is not particularly concerned” that guns in restaurants and bars will lead to more violence.”
Carry-conceal owners are responsible individuals who follow the law, Gaither Jr. said, and feels confident that bar and restaurant owners will make the best choices for them.
Gaither Jr. also weighed in on a law that will allow concealed-carry owner to take guns into greenways, public parks and public recreational areas, provided cities and counties don’t prohibit it.
“In public spaces, I think that the right to carry your concealed firearm while licensed is appropriate. I don’t have any issues with that law because I don’t think it violates the rights of a business or violates the rights of a private landowner,” Gaither said. “It’s a public space and I think our right to carry firearms in a park or recreation area is similar to our rights to carry a firearm on the streets in about our person in all public areas.”
Since Oct. 1, those who attend or work at public colleges and universities and those who work at public schools can keep weapons in their car, provide they are concealed carry owners and the car is locked
Gaither Jr. declined to weigh in on the question of whether guns should be allowed on campuses.
“I would say this is a legislative issue. As district attorney, I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to weigh in,” Gaither Jr. said. “I trust our legislature to make decisions that are best for the people and provide for the welfare and the safety of the people. My job is to enforce the laws that they pass.”
Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant weighed in on the recent changes to the gun laws.
“No one can carry a concealed handgun while consuming alcohol or while alcohol or a controlled substance is in the blood,” Whisenant wrote. “The law also prohibits concealed handguns at parades or funeral processions, and an assembly where admission is charged provided the location posts prohibitions against having a concealed weapon. The law does allow for a handgun on public educational property, and on certain state property and courthouses if the weapon is stored in a vehicle.
The Burke County Courthouse has postings that prohibit permit holders from possessing any firearm on the courthouse property including in a secured vehicle.