Concealed gun bill gets mixed reviews from gun owners, firearms instructors
Posted June 9
Updated June 10
Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — A bill that would relax North Carolina's laws governing the carrying of concealed weapons is drawing mixed reactions from those in the firearms community.
The state House voted 65-54 this week to pass House Bill 746, which would make it legal for anyone who legally owns a gun to carry it concealed without a permit anywhere they can carry it openly, which includes most public places.
Legal gun owners would not need to undergo the eight-hour training course currently required for a concealed carry permit unless they wish to carry a concealed weapon into locations where that permit would still be required.
House Bill 746 would also allow lawmakers to carry guns in the legislative building.
Currently, the minimum age for a concealed carry permit is 21. The law would allow permitless concealed carry by any gun owner 18 and over.
Some law enforcement agencies say they're opposed to the bill, as do some gun owners. But others say it will offer more protection.
Two separate surveys, one by Survey USA and another by Public Polling Policy, recently found that four in five voters opposed relaxing gun restrictions.
The Fraternal Order of Police opposes the bill as well, but supporters say the legislation would enhance 2nd Amendment freedoms for law abiding citizens.
"As it stands, we can already carry any open carry without training, so it really doesn't change anything," Sovereign Guns shop owner Kiran Frampton said. "It just means they can now carry concealed rather than open and maybe not get so many people worried about seeing guns."
Gun owner Mary Eakes said she disagrees with loosening gun laws.
"I think loosening the laws would be absolutely wrong. I think they need to tighten the laws to where the right people can get the guns," Eakes said.
Tim Jackson agreed, adding that concealed carry permit classes give people good "general knowledge and safety (on) how to handle your weapons system, knowing when to discharge it and when not to discharge it."
"I've always been an advocate of safety first. Once you fire that round, it's out and you can't reset it," he said. "Education is power. Knowledge is power."
Craig Jackson said he can understand why some people might feel safer if House Bill 746 passes.
"There are a great number of citizens that recognize, a lot of times, you don’t have law enforcement agents present everywhere you go," Jackson said. "So, for them to feel safe, if it means you can conceal a weapon, I think that far outnumbers the opportunities where the law enforcement does."
After passing the House, the bill's next stop is in the North Carolina Senate.