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Will Georgia's relaxation of gun laws mean new business for North Carolina?

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Editorial and other opinion content provides perspective on issues important to the community and is unrelated to the work of newsroom reporters.

If there’s one thing Governor Roy Cooper likes, he’s a North Carolina cheerleader. He’s been traveling across the state to celebrate his new job coming to the state, and a few weeks ago he appeared on his CNBC to celebrate the state’s designation as the best business in the country.and on monday he Threw Music Midtown, an Atlanta-based festival that announced this week that it’s canceling its 2022 event, has moved to North Carolina as its new location.

“Come to North Carolina,” the governor said on Twitter and Facebook.

The word “safety” is important here. LiveNation (the group behind Music Midtown) declined to comment on the cancellation, but journalists attributed the decision to his 2014 law allowing people to visibly arm themselves on public property. associated with. In 2019, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that this includes private events on public lands, such as the giant music festival held in a park owned by the city of Atlanta.

An appeals court upheld that decision this year, putting festival organizers at risk of lawsuits if they continue with festivals with current gun restrictions. The threats were brought by Patrick Evans, who is behind the court case. He also mentioned the possibility of withdrawing.

It’s not uncommon in North Carolina to lose businesses due to bad policies. In 2017, the Associated Press calculated that the transphobic “bathroom bill” HB 2 would cost the state $3.7 billion over 12 years. Although portions of the bill were repealed by HB 142, and the provisions of that bill prohibiting antidiscrimination laws were lifted in 2020, the state still creates at least 1,400 jobs and $450 million to $630 million. We lost a dollar in the month after the bill passed. Wilmington’s film industry stalled thanks to HB2 and changes in incentives for filmmakers, which coincidentally moved some of the sets to Georgia.

Of course, North Carolina isn’t perfect. While we still have access to abortion and have not legislated the existence of transgender people, we are still at risk of both of these and more.North Carolina too I have a complicated relationship with guns. People with proper permits are allowed to carry firearms, but are not allowed to bring firearms into public places where they are expressly prohibited, such as private events at schools or parks.

Republicans in North Carolina should be aware of the backlash facing Georgia. If you don’t want to consider why gun laws need to be tougher, why your voting rights need to be protected, and the myriad other reasons why abortion should be an option, at least the economic impact. should be considered. An extreme right leaning is not good for attracting events and businesses to your state.

Apart from practical issues, there is also the issue of cultural reputation. Atlanta is considered the musical capital of the South. Overall, North Carolina does not have the same relevance. There are a few medium-sized festivals, but they all tend to fit a certain genre. His EDM at Charlotte’s Breakaway, hip-hop at Dreamville, and more. Moving Music Midtown here sets us up for success in the music business and allows us to highlight some of our local. Local record labels and acts. They can also decide we’re not cool enough.

Still, Music Midtown seems to be the event governors, business owners and music fans want to relocate here. Cooper’s deputy communications director, Mary Scott Winstead, said in an email that formal talks with the festival’s planners have yet to take place, but they are open to it.

“The governor constantly promotes North Carolina as a destination for business, special events, travel and tourism,” Winstead told me.

The festival has not responded to either me as a News & Observer reporter or the governor. Those who purchased tickets are in the process of getting refunds as the festival has been completely cancelled. If the festival really moved to North Carolina, it’s unlikely they’d complete their plans in such a short time.

But if so, North Carolina, at least for now, would offer something Georgia can’t.

Sara Pequeño is an opinion writer and editorial board member for McClatchy’s North Carolina Opinion Team, based in Raleigh. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019 and has continued her writing career in North Carolina ever since.