House votes to relax gun laws in NC

Posted May 6, 2013
Updated May 7, 2013

— State House lawmakers voted late Monday night to allow concealed weapons on college campuses, state property, greenways, bike trails, at sporting events and in businesses that serve alcohol.

Proponents of House Bill 937 says it protects and expands the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while increasing punishment for those who use guns in the commission of crimes. It also requires more rapid reporting of mental health adjudications to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, in accordance with federal mandates. 

Backers of the bill pointed out that, in addition to the mental health language, the measure also stiffens penalties for crimes involving firearms and won the support of the North Carolina Sheriff's Association.

However, the proposal faced stiff opposition from University of North Carolina system officials.

Sponsor Rep. Justin Burr, R-Stanly, said recent reports of campus crime illustrate why students and faculty with concealed carry permits should be allowed to have firearms locked in their cars on campus. 

"This doesn’t allow them to carry in the classroom," Burr said. "Please tell me why in the world we would want to prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves." 

Private universities and schools could opt not to permit weapons on campus, but public schools and universities would have to comply. 

Local officials also would no longer be allowed to outlaw guns on greenways, biking and walking paths.

Current law allows cities and counties to ban weapons at recreational facilities, but "some local municipalities have begun abusing that current statute," Burr said.

Weapons also aren't currently allowed in restaurants and bars where alcohol is served. Burr said the bill would allow private property owners to make that decision on their own.

"They can post a sign prohibiting those if they so choose," he said.

Democrats offered five amendments to the bill. One would have required background checks for firearms at gun shows in North Carolina, where people can currently buy rifles without a permit. Another would have struck the provision allowing guns on campuses. A third would have restricted sales of large-capacity magazines. Still another would have increased the penalties for carrying a firearm while consuming alcohol.

All five amendments were killed by Republican leaders who used a procedural motion – "to lie upon the table" – to avoid debate on the amendments and protect members from voting on them on record. 

Shortly after that, Republican House leaders cut off debate altogether, forcing a vote. 

Democrats responded angrily to the heavy-handed parliamentary tactics.

Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, said that, while the bill might protect Second Amendment rights, "The First Amendment is taking a big hit tonight."

Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, warned, "The more places we allow guns, the more accidents are going to happen."

"This is not something that makes our state a better place" said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake. "It's something that puts us on Stephen Colbert, and we've been on Stephen Colbert a lot lately."

But Republicans said the bill is balanced.

"Personally, I believe this bill doesn't go far enough," said Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus.   

The measure passed its first of two House votes, 76-38, on party lines. Its final House vote is scheduled for Tuesday. It then goes to the Senate.


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  • The Contractor May 16, 2013

    what good is a gun locked in your car when your stuck in a classroom in a panicked crowd and some crazy is going down the hall shooting people? we're supposed to get to our car and then go back inside and shoot him? how is that protecting anyone?

  • Crumps Br0ther May 8, 2013

    Did the NC House get side tracked on the job issues or did they just consider getting involved with employment was a bad idea?

    I could ask the same about Barry and Joe's laser like focus on jobs and summer of recovery. But you wouldnt dare hold Barry to any kind of standard would you?

  • cart0iv May 8, 2013

    Guns on campuses, sporting events and places that serves alcohol? Are you kidding me? We are a society who's just a "bad hair day" away from turning into a criminal. A road rage away from shooting a person. It is not just about good guys vs. bad guys. It's about removing such temptations from folks who are simply not always at their best... even the most civic minded, church going, law abiding citizens.

  • crouch1010 May 7, 2013

    Did the NC House get side tracked on the job issues or did they just consider getting involved with employment was a bad idea?

  • crouch1010 May 7, 2013

    Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Republican leaders say let's increase the number of morticians and emergency medical workers. Expanding the police force to "wannabe heroes" will not make the society safer.

  • enlightened May 7, 2013

    Please expand this article to include the current law for open carry. Most are uninformed. Let readers know where they can carry weapons that are visible, which might be a bit more reassuring to folks than allowing the carry of unseen firearms.

  • Classified May 7, 2013

    ""Gun free" zone works very well, don't they."

    They do, thats why we have them.” Grand Union

    Sandy Hook was a gun free zone. How did that work out?

    Gun free zone = target rich environment.

  • Pretzel Logic May 7, 2013

    RE : If anything guns merely increase the risk of you or a family member being killed because you are far more likely to go nuts, get depressed or careless than you are to use your gun to save your life. Grand Union

    Statistically, I fall into a different category than death by firearm

    Over the years I have had a Very Large Family 16 Aunts / Uncles, 43 1st cousins,,, with Many Many Guns,,, Not all are alive now,,, RIP, Not one has ever been accidentally shot, gone nutts, cant say depressed or careless, no suicides either

    Me and the remaining members of my family are far more likely (Almost Certainly) to die of Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancer, and just plain old age,,, oh and Naggin'HousewifeSyndrome:)

  • Dukefan1 May 7, 2013

    "brought about by many years of liberals chipping away at them, our freedom (and not to mention, our jobs)."

    I have to laugh at this one. Dems chipping away at rights...ha ha. That all the GOP has done since the session began. Social issues that they THINK everyone should follow because they know the RIGHT way.

  • Lightfoot3 May 7, 2013

    "You might trust yourself not to drink and carry but why on earth should the rest of us trust you?" - Grand Union

    It's part of freedom of being an American. It's the same reason why we "trust" you not to drink and drive.