Groups monitoring establishments for signs banning guns - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Groups monitoring establishments for signs banning guns

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On October 1st, a new North Carolina law will go into effect. Conceal carry permit holders will be allowed to bring handguns into establishments that serve alcohol - unless the business posts a sign banning guns.

Now, bars and restaurants are getting a lot of attention from people who want to know if establishments will allow guns or not.

Two groups are monitoring the situation for different reasons.

"We're concerned that just because you're a concealed weapon holder doesn't mean you're responsible" says Suzanne Conway of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Members of the group are canvassing establishments across the state – checking to see if businesses that serve alcohol plan to ban concealed handguns. The group is against the law. Members believe it makes establishments less safe.

Moms Demand Action was formed the day after the December 2012 shooting in Connecticut where 26 people  - including 20 children - were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Police say the gunman killed his mother before driving to the school. Investigators say after the mass shooting, Adam Lanza turned the gun on himself. In all, 28 people died in that shooting.

Conway says "Newtown hit a bunch of us really hard. We're trying to keep our kids safe and we don't think carrying a concealed weapon into establishments - especially establishments that serve alcohol - is keeping our families safe."

Conway spent Friday's lunch hour at the Arboretum in Charlotte "talking to restaurants and small businesses and letting them know if they don't want weapons on their property then they have to post a notice to let their customers know."

Many of the workers didn't realize the law is about to change.

Conway says "we're going to hit as many restaurants and if we ever go out and visit a restaurant and it's not  posted – especially October 1st – then we'll talk to management and encourage them to post."

"If people are worried about what's going to happen on October 1st with restaurants carry – I can assure you, assure them, the result with be nothing. They will not notice any difference" says Paul Valone, President of Grass Roots North Carolina.

Valone says "the people carrying have been carrying in grocery store lines since 1995 without incident."

Valone says his organization fought to get the conceal carry law passed and wants to make concealed permit handgun holders are able to protect themselves if there is trouble in an establishment.

"People think violent crime is and around North Carolina restaurants is rare but it is not" says Valone. 

Grass Roots North Carolina's web site now has a page -  high risk restaurants - that keeps track of establishments that ban conceal permit handguns.

Valone says "the fact is people want to know where posted restaurants are and where they are not and we're offering them that service."

Conceal permit holders let the group know if there's an establishment with a sign banning guns. Once Grass Roots North Carolina confirms the business is prohibiting concealed handguns, Valone says they spread the work among the network of gun owners.

"Essentially what we do is mass distribution of information" Valone says. "These people are encouraged to contact merchants and let them know why they won't be patronizing the business."

Valone says his organization is not trying to bully businesses.

"Our purpose is not intimidation. Our purpose is not boycott" says Valone. "We ask only that they not restrict our conceal handgun permit holders from carrying to protect their families."

The law says patrons with concealed carry permits cannot consume alcohol while carrying a gun.



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