Proposal would require businesses to allow guns in parked vehicles

by Frank DeLoache

DAVIDSON – The chamber breakfast gathering was billed as a debate about a proposal in the N.C. General Assembly that would require businesses from to allow gun owners to keep weapons in their cars on the business’ property.

But in the end, former Huntersville Mayor Pro Tem Brian Sisson, who was supposed to support the bill, seemed to agree with Mohammad Jenatian, who represents Charlotte-area hoteliers and businesses, and opposes the bill.

Jenatian, president of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality & Tourism Alliance, said his group supports the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. But the bill, he said, represents another intrusion on private enterprise – by telling owners another way they have to run their businesses.

Bill Russell, president of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, asked Sisson and Jenatian to present opposing views on House Bill 63 during a Friday Focus session at the Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse Restaurant. The bill doesn’t override other laws prohibiting people – even with legal permits to carry concealed firearms – to bring their weapons into any establishment serving alcohol.

“We totally support gun rights and the ability of citizens to protect themselves,” Jenatian said. “But the new leadership in the General Assembly says ‘We will protect business rights and get government out of business.’

“But this would create another bureaucracy to tell people how to run their businesses.”

Russell chose Sisson to speak because he and his wife, Tricia, will open Range at Lake Norman this fall, a new shooting range that will offer 15 bays for shooting and space for tactical, training exercises for police and others.

In his first comments to the chamber group, Sisson said House Bill 63 will “get us a little bit closer to protecting ourselves.” He and his wife are among 14,000 “concealed-carry permit holders” in Mecklenburg County.

“Criminals don’t pay attention to the law, and this (bill) would level the playing field,” Sisson said.

In the end, Sisson said he agrees with Jenatian and doesn’t favor any more rules that tell business owners how they must operate.