Some of the commenters to my post about using the Virginia experience to push for allowing concealed carry in restaurants and eating establishments that serve alcohol have pointed out states where it is both legal to carry in bars and to drink at the same time. That may be. However, I doubt that would be a winning argument here in North Carolina.
The Tar Heel State has or has had an almost puritanical approach to alcohol. It was the first state in the South to adopt prohibition and the first in the nation to do so by popular vote. It was not until 1978 that North Carolina relaxed its laws enough to allow liquor by the drink in restaurants. Even then, unless it was a private club, bars were not allowed to sell mixed drinks. Prior to this, we had the charming custom of “brown bagging” where you would go to a restaurant that had the proper permits and bring your own booze. They would sell you a “set-up” which might be a glass of Coke or ginger ale or merely a glass of ice.
Liquor stores in the state are still governmental entities run by county or municipal alcohol control boards under the overall control of the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. There is even a division of Alcohol Law Enforcement under the state’s Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.
North Carolina has changed a lot since the video below was made in 1978. There is only one completely dry county left – Graham – but there are still a number of towns and cities that don’t allow liquor by the drink or even beer and wine sales. That said, the attitudes toward alcohol among many in their mid-40s and up is still imbued with that old puritanical flavor. Indeed, I would not be surprised to find lots of people still agreeing with the sentiments expressed in the video below in all age groups.
Thus, in getting concealed carry allowed in North Carolina’s restaurants that serve alcohol, we are having to take it one step at a time and limit it to non-drinking patrons. The fact that the N.C. House passed HB 111 with a strong majority was a great beginning. Now we have to convince the Senate to do likewise.