- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A change to North Carolina’s existing gun legislation would make the state one of roughly a dozen that allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.

The proposal creates yet another rift between gun-control advocates and gun-rights supporters, who argued that it would equalize concealed carry-open carry laws in the state. Currently, it is permissible to openly carry a weapon in certain places within the state, with some restrictions. The latest change would allow concealed handgun carry only in those same locations, bill sponsor, Pender County Republican Rep. Chris Millis, told a House committee last week.

According to the National Rifle Association’s website, there are about 12 states that do not require a permit to conceal carry a handgun.

The latest North Carolina measure would also lower the minimum age for a person to conceal carry from 21 to 18 and apply to individuals who are not otherwise prohibited by law to carry a firearm.

It brings “parity for law-abiding citizens … to be able to carry in a practical manner,” Millis said of his proposed legislation.

For example, he said, during the summer, someone could be wearing a holster in plain sight and have it be legal, but if that person were to put on a jacket or coat in the winter and that gun is now covered, then it would be breaking the law if that individual did not have a permit.

“If someone can legally carry openly … there is no legitimate reason for that person to not be able to carry concealed,” said another bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County.

The bill has already cleared two House committees and is expected to head to the House floor as early as Wednesday for debate. It would still need the Senate’s approval before it could go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.

According to Millis, the change would have no effect on the state’s pistol-purchase permit. Under current law, a person must have either that permit or a concealed-carry permit to “sell, transfer or receive” a pistol in the state. The permits are issued by local sheriffs who conduct background checks and can deny issuance based on certain grounds.

While the bill would not do away entirely with the concealed carry permit - people would still be able to get one for out-of-state reciprocity or other purposes - opponents argue that it would eliminate the firearms safety course criteria that applicants must complete to qualify for the permit.

This legislation “dismantles North Carolina’s concealed-handgun permitting system,” KaKi McKinney, a volunteer with the state chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told The Associated Press.

That training includes “all the things we want people to know” when handling a loaded concealed weapon, McKinney said. But with this current proposal, “a person will be on the street and we won’t know if they’ve had the training or not.”

The recent measure does include a provision to create a gun-safety class that high schoolers would be able to take as an elective course.

Cooper expressed concern Tuesday about the proposal, writing in a tweet confirmed by his office that “gun safety training is critical.”

“North Carolina has a long history of responsible gun ownership, and we understand keeping common-sense gun laws, like those that call for a permit to carry a concealed loaded handgun in public, are crucial for keeping our streets and families safe,” McKinney said in a statement.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide