Who knew that legally concealed handguns would thoroughly enhance the experience of dining-out in North Carolina? It might sound like a fairy tale with the direction our country has been going lately, but freedom makes life better for people willing to carry their own weight.

Down here in the Tar Heel State, a Republican sponsored bill for comprehensive pro-gun reform just became law on the 1st of October.

As a result, concealed-handgun-permit (CHP) holders like my wife and I now have the freedom to patronize restaurants without being stripped of our right to bear arms.

In fact, we recently enjoyed dinner at one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate our restored freedom. It felt so “American” not having to stow our guns in our car just to enjoy a good meal. Freedom and guns truly enriched our whole dining experience and added to all the blessing for which we were thankful; a good meal, a wonderful sense of safety, a blessed and free country, and the freedom to thank God for all of it. Chalk it up as another victory for liberty loving Americans and this great country.

Though my wife and I patronize this particular steakhouse frequently, the armed atmosphere that evening seemed heightened with friendliness. Maybe it was just my increased sense of security allowing me to more fully appreciate everyone’s congeniality. Nevertheless, even the wings we ordered as an appetizer seemed more satisfying and enjoyable than ever before. Again, that, too, could be attributed to my increased sense of security allowing me to more fully indulge in savory aromas and tantalizing seasonings.

Now whether my sensory extravaganza was real or imagined is beside the point. What matters is the irrefutable reality that dining in North Carolina has been greatly improved for advocates of personal protection and freedom.

In fact, just knowing other law-abiding CHP patrons were armed that night made the dining experience more satisfying. Unfortunately, I did notice several Obama bumper stickers in the parking lot on my way in, so I suspected not everyone was legally armed (sigh).

Before October, armed CHP holders could not enter establishments that served alcohol. Today, they can enter and dine, but they cannot “drink and carry.” If an individual were irresponsible enough to do the latter and find himself arrested, he would lose his right to ever legally carry concealed here again.

Furthermore, restaurant owners can still operate anti-gun businesses if they desire. They merely have to post signs that declare guns are not allowed. However, criminals generally carry illegal guns anyway, and they tend to ignore signs banning guns just as they ignore every other law.

(Note to the discerning citizen concerned about safety: When you see one of these signs, turn around and find another bistro, buffet, or beanery.)

On the other hand, I guess I should be happy for anti-gun liberals finding some comfort from their gun phobia in a picture of a little gun with a line running through it. Of course, I would prefer they find real security by carrying an actual gun versus clinging to the false sense of hope from a useless picture.

Sadly, I am afraid that these signs serve the opposite intent and act more like beacons advertising free-fire zones to deranged criminals who seek to maximize mayhem and murder. Yet Democrats still seem surprised every time a nut with a gun shows up and slaughters unarmed victims setup by liberals’ anti-gun policies.

It would seem that the violent horrors pouring out of liberal anti-gun bastions like Chicago, Detroit, and Washington D.C. would be enough to expose the total failure that gun-control and gun-free zones are, but as long as government-dependent supporters continue to buy it, liberal lawmakers will continue peddling the fraudulent story that criminals will one day magically heed to signs declaring gun-free zones in spite of the ever-growing body count to the contrary.

Meanwhile, non-fiction stories, like former Texas State Congresswoman Suzanna Hupp’s, actually do save lives by inspiring support for pro-gun laws like ours in North Carolina. Hupp survived the 1991 Luby’s restaurant massacre in Kileen, Texas. The maniacal attack left 50 people shot and 23 people murdered, including Hupp’s mother and father. Although Hupp owned a handgun and adamantly asserts that she had the opportunity to stop her parents’ murderer before he executed them, Hupp had left her gun in her truck because carrying a gun into the restaurant was illegal in Texas at that time — but even the cops attending a convention at a hotel next store were delayed because the hotel manager requested they leave their guns in their cars, too, so that other guests would not feel uncomfortable. Hupp went on to become a Republican representative and a champion for concealed carry and gun rights.

Today, Republicans like Suzanna Hupp and our North Carolina representatives deserve our gratitude. They continue fighting against the Democrats’ serial obsession to disarm law-abiding and self-reliant citizens (oh, and off-duty police officers, too).

Nevertheless, not one person has been shot as a result of the expanded freedom CHP holders have to patronize more restaurants, a fact that must vex anti-gun Democrats who frantically predicted ensuing mayhem. The pro-gun reform is working exactly as it was intended. It is simply allowing self-reliant, law-abiding citizens the freedom to choose how they protect themselves and their families when they are in public places.

So the next time I go out to dine, I feel good knowing I have a higher level of safety. I will also be certain that I thank God for my freedom, America, and North Carolina.