Raleigh, N.C. — The first firearms-related measure to be filed this session would allow concealed handgun permit holders to bring their guns into restaurants where alcohol is served.
House Bill 17, "Gun Permits/Restaurants & Confidentiality," would also remove information regarding who has a concealed handgun permits from the list of information government collects that is a public record.
The lead sponsor on the measure if Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly.
"A great majority of states already permit that," Burr said of the restaurant carry provision. "I believe the more locations a concealed carry permit holders are able to carry their weapon versus leaving it in a vehicle, the better."
Gun rights advocates pushed for a restaurant carry bill last session, saying that establishments that serve alcohol are spots where law abiding gun owners are vulnerable to criminals. Also last year, WRAL News used limited information from the concealed handgun database to allow users to look up how many permit holders lived on their street.
Asked about the public information provision of the bill, Burr said it has been a concern of his for some time.
"When I first elected four years ago, I remember getting an email from some random person that sent me all of my information they were able to get off the concealed weapons permit holder database," Burr said.
Currently, the state Department of Justice will make the database available to anyone who requests it. The database includes home address, phone numbers, physical descriptors and other information.
Burr said that gun permits were different from other sorts of permits, such as county registries of who owns what car or real estate.
"I don't see that as necessarily being a right," Burr said. "There's not an amendment in the constitution saying you have a right to a car or things such as that."
On the Senate side, top leaders say they have not discussed whether any gun-related legislation will move.
"We're not there yet," Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, said. "That's neither yea nor nay. We just haven't discussed it."
The gun rights root, Grass Roots North Carolina, plans a rally outside the legislature on Feb. 5. Among other things, the group has called for state law to be changed so that teachers with concealed handgun permits could carry weapons to the classroom.
Top legislative leaders have said that gun issues were not a top priority for lawmakers this year.
"I'm not one who thinks that arming teachers i the right solution," House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday in response to a question about gun rights legislation. "I think it would be more likely that we would get tougher on anyone who commits a crime who uses a weapon."