Raleigh, N.C. — The state House voted 98-19 Tuesday to remove concealed handgun permits from the documents covered by North Carolina's public records law. The measure now goes to the Senate.
Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanley, said the bill would prevent criminals from getting their hands on information about law-abiding gun owners.
"Potential criminals could target those individuals or target those who don't have a permit," Burr said.
The measure passed with little debate. Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, took time to point out that voting, like owning a gun, is a right but that voter rolls are open to inspection.
Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, called the bill "a compromise" because it left the state's permitting system in place.
"As far as I'm concerned, as long as you have no intention of harming an innocent person, I don't see anyone, especially the government, having access to this information," Pittman said.
North Carolina is one of fewer than 10 state where concealed handgun permit data is available. Publication of concealed handgun permit information following the Newtown school shooting in Connecticut sparked outrage among gun owners.
WRAL News used gun permit information in stories last summer. However, no House member argued that media reports were a reason for closing the records.