Whenever a state moves to expand its gun laws and add to the list of places in which concealed carry is allowed, the headlines so often seem to run somewhere along the lines of “State X passes bill allowing guns in bars” — the implication being that because State X was dumb enough to allow people the capability to defend themselves and their neighbors in places where alcohol is served, we’re obviously going to see a violent increase in bloody drunken shootouts and mass restaurant carnage because some short-tempered yokel packing heat and looking for a fight won’t be able to keep it together when a guy at a neighboring table insults his favorite football team.

All of which overlooks the fact that concealed carry holders are usually extremely responsible people who don’t want to give anyone an excuse to attack their Second-Amendment rights. I remember when my home state of Virginia expanded their gun laws and allowed for concealed carry in bars and restaurants back in 2010 (and then again when the state repealed their “one handgun purchase per month” law in 2012), state progressives went berserk, shaking their heads and suggesting darkly, “Welcome to the wild, wild West.” …Except that Virginia’s rates of both bar-and-restaurant crime and general gun violence have been declining in the past few years. Bizarre, right?

Anyhow, the North Carolina legislature just moved to expand their own gun laws and allow for concealed carry — not just in “bars” — but in public recreation areas and to allow concealed permit holders to at least keep their firearms in their locked vehicle.

The Republican-backed bill approved by both the House and Senate on Tuesday allows concealed-carry permit holders to take firearms into bars and restaurants and other places where alcohol is served as long as the owner doesn’t expressly forbid it.

The measure will also allow concealed-carry permit holders to store weapons in locked cars on the campus of any public school or university. Guns will also now be allowed on greenways, playgrounds and other public recreation areas. …

“Responsible people are generally the ones who have concealed carry,” said Rep. John Faircloth, (R) District 61. “They don’t want to get in trouble. They don’t want to ruin what they know was a good constitutional right.”

The measure now heads to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk.

Gov. McCrory is expected to sign the measure, effectively allowing North Carolinians the opportunity to take a more proactive role in both self-defense and the safety of their communities.