They serve our country, but some service members say some downtown Wilmington bars won't serve them. About a month ago, a group of Marines lodged a complaint against the city, and a number of bars, complaining they were not being allowed in. Today Marines, city officials, and downtown bar owners met to discuss the issue. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said the confusion is over an old state law that requires club patrons to carry a membership in order to get in. Marines say that law only seems to apply to them. U.S. Marine Kevin Nicholson said, "It's a simple matter where you can be in line. Three civilians in front of you, three civilians in back of you and you're the only person that's asked for a membership card." Local bar owners would not go on camera but said that Marines are often violent and more difficult to control when they are intoxicated. John Hinnant of Wilmington Downtown Incorporated says today's meeting established a relationship between downtown bar owners and Camp Lejeune. He said the city and Camp Lejeune will work together to get rid of the membership law, and come up with a way to hold Marines accountable when they misbehave.
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