Sid Barfield’s recent letter rallying the people of Forsyth County to speak up against HB 875, a pro-gun modification of our laws and expansion of the right of gun permit holders to carry in more places, was full of histrionics and dramatic clichés, but short on substance.
He says we should not allow guns on our streets in public? Well sir, where have you been? Guns have always been legal on the public streets and sidewalks, and only since 1910 has a license been required. Have you ever heard of any licensed person lawfully carrying a firearm “on the street” and then using that gun in a murder, aggravated assault, carjacking or any other such crime? Me either.
That crack about the days of the old Wild West is just hyperbole. You don’t think even people who don’t drink should be allowed to enter a bar when carrying a weapon? Well what about restaurants that serve alcohol? Every place in Forsyth County that serves alcoholic beverages is legal for licensed gun carriers already, and this has been the case since 2008 since HB 89 took effect.
And if your faith is offended by weapons in God’s house, I would suggest that a better way to deal with that is to associate with a like-minded denomination and congregation that would use their private property rights to have an internal rule about guns there, instead of demanding that the state put special restrictions on all places of worship that don’t exist for other places and other kinds of institutions.
Churches were originally declared off limits to gun-toters because they were cited in the law as an example of what a “public gathering” was, but now that the “public gatherings” clause has been removed from our law, there’s no logical reason to keep the ban on church carry, nor, in my opinion, is it constitutionally permissible because of the free exercise of religion prong of the First Amendment.