Watauga D.A. wantonly misinterprets restaurant carry ban


At precisely the moment House Bill 111 for concealed carry in restaurants is languishing in the Senate Judiciary II Committee, a western North Carolina man is being prosecuted for carrying a firearm in violation of GS 14-269.3 – a place where “alcohol is sold and consumed” – EVEN THOUGH HE IS CLEARLY INNOCENT.

To be clear: GRNC is not defending the actions of the man in question. He also faces the common law charge of “going armed to the terror of the public” and might well be guilty as charged. But the arrogance of local law enforcement and the district attorney clearly signal that you too might come under the prosecutorial knife, and that we need restaurant carry RIGHT NOW!

Arrested in Burnsville, Larry Dean Hunter is charged with “Going armed to the terror of the public” and violating GS 14-269.3, which bars firearms “where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed.” The problem? He was arrested for displaying a firearm in an INGLES SUPERMARKET, where alcohol might be sold, but is definitely not “consumed.”

An innocent mistake on the part of law enforcement? Think again. GRNC president Paul Valone actually called the office of District Attorney Jerry Wilson, representing Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga, and Yancey Counties. Here is how the conversation went:

Valone: “I am calling regarding the potential misinterpretation of a pending case regarding our concealed handgun statute in Yancey County. Can you direct me who to talk to?”

D.A. office: “Are you a defendant or a relative in the case?”

Valone: “I don’t want to talk about the case. I want to talk to the District Attorney about GS 14-269.3.”

D.A. office: “I’m terminating this call now.” CLICK.

Given that GRNC had already made attempts to contact the Burnsville Chief of Police, Brian Buchanan, and did contact the town’s mayor, Danny McIntosh, it is safe to say that D.A. Jerry Wilson is aware of the case and dodging questions on a prosecution they clearly intend to continue, despite the fact that GS 14-269.3 clearly does not apply.


CALL ELECTED DISTRICT ATTORNEY JERRY WILSON and let him know you are on to his scam: Wilson’s office number is 828-268-6610.

CONTACT BURNSVILLE MAYOR DANNY MCINTOSH and deliver the message that he needs to keep a tighter leash on his clearly anti-gun Chief of Police, Brian Buchanan. McIntosh can be reached at either mayor[at]townofburnsville.org or 828-682-2420.

CONTACT SEN. PHIL BERGER: This is most important. As President Pro Tem of the NC Senate, it is Berger who controls the fate of HB 111 for concealed carry in restaurants which serve alcohol. E-mail AND call Berger at Phil.Berger[at]ncleg.net and (919) 733-5708. Deliver the message below.


Dear Senator Berger:

Your inaction in passing concealed carry in restaurants is now resulting in criminal prosecution by a malicious district attorney who is reading the ban on firearms in places where alcohol is sold and consumed to include even grocery stores. The D.A. is Jerry Wilson of Watauga County and the citizen is Jerry Dean Hunter, who is being prosecuted for having a gun in an Ingles Supermarket.

Passing the restaurant carry language in House Bill 111, which is still alive but languishing in the Senate Judiciary II Committee, could solve the problem. Moreover, it could deter crime. According to the Richmond “Times-Dispatch,” after Virginia passed restaurant carry, major crimes in restaurants dropped by 5.2%.

Gun owners didn’t give control of the legislature to Republicans only to have them slavishly adhere to polling of a public which is unaware that permit-holders would still be prohibited from imbibing alcohol. And reports that you refused to include restaurant carry in House Bill 650 in order to protect Republican legislators in marginal districts are now moot: Republicans redrew the districts.

If Republicans want continued support from Second Amendment advocates, they should deliver on legislation they were elected to pass. I will be monitoring your actions via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.



We have a few short months before the legislature returns to Raleigh – and then few short weeks to pass restaurant carry before the opportunity is lost, perhaps forever. To pass House Bill 111, GRNC wants to do a public education campaign to counter media misinformation about “drunks with guns.” But to do that, we need money – money which right now we don’t have. Will you help?

• JOIN GRNC OR SIGN UP NEW MEMBERS: If you are not already a member, please join! If you are, please renew! If you know someone who isn’t, sign them up! Go to: http://grnc.org/join_grnc/join_grnc.htm

• DONATE TO GRNC: Beyond even membership, we need your donations. As a volunteer organization, we promise to deliver “Max bang for your legislative buck.” To donate, go to: http://grnc.org/join_grnc/contribute.htm

Contribute to the cause! Give generously to protect your rights.


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