I was reading the article "Appetite for destruction" in your Oct. 23 edition at the Loop in Chapel Hill today. I asked the counter clerk if they plan on prohibiting guns. He said he gave the sign to the manager but he didn't know what he did with it. I said, "Please tell your manager that unless he bans firearms, this will be the last time we patronize the Loop—and we usually eat here at least once a month." They were also asking folks to complete a questionnaire, so we filled one out that included the same comment.
There are lots of places we can choose to eat and drink, so if we truly think it is insane to bring guns in bars and restaurants, then we need to make sure these establishments will start losing business and money if they continue to permit it.
In the future I plan on calling every restaurant where I am thinking of eating and asking if they are gun-free. If not, then they will be told we won't be eating there. Hopefully, if enough folks stop patronizing businesses that permit guns where families are eating and alcohol is being served, this insanity will stop.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention, and keep up the good reporting.
Paul Schwenke, Chapel Hill
Many fears may be calmed by knowing a simple fact: Concealed-carry permit holders are, by definition, not allowed to consume alcohol while carrying. There are no second chances. If they mess up, their license is taken away.
Mary Nguyen, Raleigh
While I agree with Lisa Sorg that bars and restaurants can ban legally concealed handguns, I disagree with the basic premise that those legally licensed to carry pose a threat to the occupants of these establishments. According to her statistics, we have had only five documented gun crimes involving North Carolina permit holders since 2007. Out of the "more than 379,000 conceal-carry permits active in North Carolina," I consider five abuses in seven years statistically insignificant.
I urge Ms. Sorg to use her editorial skills to pursue punishment for the criminals and felons who carry handguns anywhere they please on a daily basis, and leave the law abiding permit holders alone. Just in the Triangle, I'll bet non-permit holders (criminals) are involved in at least five documented gun crimes every day. This is where our focus and energy should be directed.
Ed Weintraub, Chapel Hill
Editor's note: The story also stated that it is impossible to document the actual number of incidents involving conceal-carry permit holders because information on their identities is not public.
The N.C. Association of Realtors is a well-run, member-friendly and very useful organization ("Realtors enter Durham City Council race," Oct. 23). I use their services frequently and am a better Realtor for it. I do not resent one dollar I pay to them in membership dues. It is also true that NCAR is a powerful organization with significant political influence and deep pockets. Members are encouraged—heavily—to support the PAC, but it is not required, and I don't. I understand the desire to support the industry and work for the best interests of the members, but I do not always agree with the PAC's point of view. I think it often works for the short-term interests of its members instead of taking the long view of what is in the best interest of homeowners, tenants and the economy as a whole.
As a real estate broker, I am distressed that an arm of NCAR is throwing so much money in Pam Karriker's direction. I heartily disagree with her that the Neighborhood Improvement Services Department's rental inspections program limits access to affordable housing in Durham. The program successfully limits access to unclean, unsafe housing, but it does not need to hurt affordability. Landlords can keep a residence in a state of cleanliness and repair without too much expense and effort, particularly if they stay on top of small repairs and make the effort to hold tenants accountable for reasonable cleanliness and maintenance.
This is not an onerous demand on tenants and is normal at the higher end of the rental market. I have seen too many rental properties where a small water leak, ignored by tenant or landlord, becomes a huge maintenance issue and a health hazard. When landlords enforce maintenance and cleanliness policies on tenants, it benefits everyone, even in the most affordable housing.
Blandy Costello, Durham
I much appreciated your article "The Holy See is blind" (Oct. 16). You obviously took much time to gather all the factual information that supports the documentary Pink Smoke Over the Vatican. The voices of open-minded, progressive Catholics are seldom heard in the secular press. Three cheers for Mary Walek and the members of SWIM, who took the lead to bring Fr. Roy Bourgeois to Raleigh.
Sue Yarger, Raleigh