Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory signed 18 bills Monday, including two of the more controversial of the recently ended legislative session – those dealing with gun rights and abortion clinics.
Supporters of Senate Bill 353, including the governor, have said it is about raising safety standards among the doctors and clinics that perform abortions.
Abortion-rights advocates say that provisions of the law, such as excluding abortion coverage from health plans offered to city and county employees, would further limit the availability of and access to the procedure statewide. They argue that, in signing the measure, McCrory is breaking a campaign promise not to allow any further limits on abortion rights.
"This law does not further limit access, and those who contend it does are more interested in politics than the health and safety of our citizens,” McCrory said Monday. The changes become law immediately.
The gun rights law, expands the places where those with legal permits can carry a concealed firearm to include bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, although they are not supposed to consume alcohol. It also allows permit holders to keep firearms locked in their car when parked on college or public school campuses.
The measure seals gun purchase and permit records, so that lists compiled by law by weapons dealers and county sheriffs – which include names, addresses and other identifying information – are no longer public record.
The law also strengthens penalties for those who violate firearms laws and will increase the amount of information, such as mental health problems, in the state's background check system. It goes into effect Oct. 1.
McCrory characterized the law as a balance of the rights of gun and property owners.
“This legislation prohibits guns in classrooms, dorms and administrative buildings on college campuses. Additionally, this legislation gives bar owners the authority to prohibit guns in their establishments," he said.
The governor also signed into law stiffer penalties for human trafficking and created a system for families of with disabilities to get public funds to send their children to private schools.