Editorial: Bill to end conceal weapon permits misses target
Posted June 14
A CBC Editorial: Wednesday, June 14, 2017; Editorial # 8173
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
To be clear:
- We support the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Period.
- We believe all those who are legally qualified, should be able to lawfully purchase and possess weapons. Period.
But it is baffling and difficult to understand the need to do away with North Carolina’s quite workable law that requires training and permits for those 21 and older who want to carry concealed weapons.
What is the problem that’s being fixed here? We don’t see one.
Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes, a Republican first elected in 1984, is worried that the bill, which narrowly passed the state House of Representatives and is before the Senate, will mean more problems, particularly for law enforcement.
“I believe if you’re going to carry concealed you should have some training – whether it’s a training course, police training or military training,” Barnes said in a recent interview. “You need that training, as far as how to handle a gun and when to handle a gun – when to pull it, when not to pull it, legal things that you need to know about carrying and pulling it. If you don’t have the requirement for that kind of training, a lot of people are not going to educate themselves. And that’s dangerous.”
Barnes isn’t alone. He’s joined by Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Police Chief Kerr Putney and Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, the state’s Fraternal Order of Police and the N.C. Association of Police Chiefs in opposing removal of the permit requirement.
In addition to doing away with the required training and permit, the bill would lower the age to legally carry a concealed weapon from 21 to 18.
Bill sponsor, Rep. Chris Millis, said the bill is “common sense” that creates “parity” for people who can carry a gun openly but might find themselves inadvertently carrying a concealed weapon in violation of the law if they put on a coat that covered a holstered gun.
Millis’ bill is a giant over-reaction to a non-existent problem. It is weak justification for a major change in the law. Public safety officers will have to deal with the dangers of this law, not Millis. What is his real agenda?
“(Now) they're getting some training. They're getting some knowledge of the law. But just to say: 'You're 18 years old, take a gun and go,' that bothers me,” said Sheriff Harrison.
The bill passed the House on a 65-54 vote – seven votes shy of the total needed to override a gubernatorial veto.
North Carolina’s current conceal-to-carry permit system might benefit from some fine-tuning. But abolishing it jeopardizes the authority of law enforcement and public safety.
Current law doesn’t restrict anybody’s 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Should this unnecessary legislation doing away with conceal-to-carry permits pass the Senate, Gov. Roy Cooper should veto it.
Those Republican members of the House who already oppose it: Ted Davis, New Hanover County; John Faircloth, Guilford County; John Fraley, Iredell County; Craig Horn, Union County; Frank Iler, Brunswick County; Chuck McGrady, Henderson County; Sam Watford, Davidson County; and Linda Hunt Williams, Wake County; should stick to their position and uphold such a veto.
The rights of gun owners won’t be diminished and the public and our law enforcement officers across the state will be safer.