Is it any business of the State of North Carolina to prevent her citizens from buying a car, such as the Tesla Model S electric car, directly from the manufacturer online or over the phone?

Apparently, not one, not two, but almost seven dozen North Carolinians have bought those cars from Tesla. This has the already highly protected N.C. automobile dealers upset and prompted a bill, S.B. 327, that would prevent such transactions in the future. It has passed the Senate unanimously.

Granted, automobile dealerships are used to state law protecting them from competition. See Daren Bakst’s report on state law limiting “the establishment and relocation of new-vehicle dealerships in ‘relevant market areas‘ where the same make of car is sold,” for example.

But 80 purchases have supposedly imperiled dealers? One wonders if automobile dealers are as fragile as the solar and film industries act, to warrant such protection.