Packing for a Six-Pack: Guns in Bars in America

by Dan Packel on Aug 19, 2013 in Culture
Packing for a Six-Pack: Guns in Bars in America

Last month, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a law allowing permit holders to bring concealed firearms into bars, so tipplers in the Tar Heel State will soon have no idea that if their neighbor at the bar is packing more heat than a daiquiri made from navy-strength rum.

Prior to this law, North Carolina was one of a small number of states that explicitly prohibited the practice. But when the state’s gun rights law goes into effect on Oct. 1, it will join 11 other states that make sure pub-goers with the appropriate license never have to drink alone — or, at the very least, without their piece.

The other 11 states are scattered across the country. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which tracks state gun laws, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin all allow concealed firearm permit holders to come strapped to their local.

In seven other states, patrons can’t sidle up to the bar with their six-shooter in a holster, but they can knock a few back in a restaurant. Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska and New Mexico will let you bring your Saturday night special to the Friday night fish fry.

And four other states — Florida, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming — allow firearms only in limited areas of restaurants.

Meanwhile, Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, and South Carolina all say “no way” to guns in any establishment where booze is served: bar, restaurant, or even the bowling alley.

In many of the remaining 21 states that have laid off the issue to this point, it hasn’t emerged as a concern because they have much tougher general policies on the issuance of concealed-carry permits. More than half require permit holders to prove they have good cause to carry a weapon, while almost half require that permit applicants prove that they are of “good moral character.”

Luckily, there are no such “moral character” requirements for those simply looking to get a drink.

Top photo via Flickr/tobym

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