NC House votes to loosen gun laws

Posted June 7
Updated June 8

— The House voted 65-54 Wednesday to relax laws governing the carrying of concealed weapons and to allow lawmakers to carry guns in the legislative building.

A final vote on the measure is expected Thursday.

House Bill 746 would make it legal for anyone who legally owns a gun to carry it concealed without a permit anywhere they can carry it openly, which includes most public places. They would not need to undergo the eight-hour training course currently required for a concealed carry permit unless they wish to carry a concealed weapon into locations where that permit would still be required.

Currently, the minimum age for a concealed carry permit is 21. The law would allow permitless concealed carry by any gun owner 18 and over.

"When we prevent law-abiding citizens to have the opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm, it only enables those who have no respect for the law," said primary sponsor Rep. Chris Millis, R-Pender. "I’m on the side of saving lives, and the way you save lives is you allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves."

House Minority Leader Darren Jackson called lowering the age for concealed carry to 18 "a recipe for disaster," a point echoed by several of the measure's opponents, including Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, a longtime police chief in High Point, who said the change would remove a "major tool" – concealed weapons charges – commonly used by law enforcement against gang members.

Faircloth urged the House to add a requirement for "some kind of training" to replace the training required for a concealed carry permit. Rep. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland, who helped write the state's concealed carry law in the 1990s, agreed: "This isn't Second Amendment protection. This is absurdity."

But co-sponsor Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, said untrained gun owners can already carry weapons openly.

"If you’re 18 years old, you can strap a gun to your side, put it in a holster, walk around with it. That’s perfectly legal," countered Speciale. "All this does is make sure, if your coat falls over it, you’re not breaking the law."

Jackson, D-Wake, said there's no comparison.

"No 18-year-old gang member is going to strap a weapon on his hip and walk down the middle of the street to do his drug deal or her drug deal, but now we’re going to give him the ability to legally carry that weapon and stick it in that waistband," Jackson responded. "It's not about gun control. It's about gun safety. It's about common sense."

The measure would also allow lawmakers, staff, and sergeants-at-arms to carry weapons in the legislative and on the chamber floor.

Noting that tens of thousands of school children tour the complex each year, Democrats tried to run several amendments that would have restricted when and how guns could be carried in the building, but Republicans voted not to allow the amendments to be voted on.

Speciale said many other states allow lawmakers to carry weapons in the legislature: "We’re doing what we should be doing, which is making sure that your rights are protected."

Jackson pointed out that the bill would also allow guns in other state government buildings, "so disgruntled taxpayers will be able to go into the Department of Revenue with a concealed weapon," and would also require sheriffs to issue pistol permits in 90 days whether or not he or she has received the required mental health check.

"That's a big change," he said.

"It’s a good bill for freedom," Speciale responded. "It returns back to the people some of the freedoms that have been taken over the years."

The vote was mostly along party lines, with eight Republican lawmakers joining all Democrats in voting against the bill. The margin of victory, 65-54, would not be sufficient to override a veto by Gov. Roy Cooper. That could change on the final vote Thursday.

Once it passes the House, it would still have to pass the Senate.


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  • Daryl Mac Jun 9, 5:16 p.m.
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    Here is the reason they are passing the ... revenue.. a conceal carry permit allows the owner to buy as many guns as he or she wishes... a regular purchase permit $5 per gun.. also lower the age by 3 years you increase the pool of potential buyers! ... its a money grab.. and you guys thought the cared about your constitutional rights or safety!

  • Pam Snyder Jun 8, 12:09 p.m.
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    Dear Lord everything isn't about race. The age for a gun should be 21 at least. Most kids ate not mature enough to handle the responsibility. Anyone with a record anywhere should not be able to purchase any type of weapon but that won't help since states don't have linked data bases. Guns scare me but only in the hands of the inexperienced and young. Problem is its too easy to get one.

  • William James Jun 8, 10:30 a.m.
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    The Concealed Carry Permit is simply a way for the Government to "extort" money from its citizens! Law abiding citizens who have already gone through the process of getting a permit for a handgun, should not then be forced to spend $100 for CCW training, $50-90 dollars for the CCW permit, and to take off days from work to fill out the Sheriffs paperwork and wait months on end to carry a firearm they already Legally own! Also, lets stop talking about the CCW Training like its Seal Team Six training, its not, its just a 1-2 day course, it doesn't turn you into Josey whales. Also, the Sheriffs response is troubling for two reasons, 1) police shouldn't have a probable with law abiding citizens being armed; 2) the crooks can still be arrested for illegal ownership or a really novel charge for actually shooting people, I think that is still an arrestable offense right?

  • Jimmy Jones Jun 8, 10:06 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    More? Look at Chicago with its unconstitutional gun laws.....More....lol.

  • Kevin Oliver Jun 8, 10:05 a.m.
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    I don't think the NRA will be happy until toddlers can carry loaded guns into pre-schools. "If only the children of Sandy Hook were packing..." The state legislature will tout "jobs created" as manufacturers start producing lunch boxes with gun holsters.

  • Jimmy Jones Jun 8, 10:05 a.m.
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    View quoted thread

    This is a racist post....period, hater.

  • Jimmy Jones Jun 8, 10:04 a.m.
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    the Second Amendment is my Right to carry a firearm, concealed or open.....period. HOWEVER, since most people haven't grown up around guns or had their parents teaching them basic gun safety (society has changed since the 1700s), I would like to see a requirement that people attend gun safety training, to include topics on the law and liability.
    As to any other arguments, criminals don't obey laws....that's why they are criminals.....

  • Lance Cotten Jun 8, 9:45 a.m.
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    If any person in this state is found legally eligible to purchase a handgun or any gun then they should be able to carry concealed period! The gang bangers, as others have stated, are ALREADY carrying their guns concealed and most of them are convicted felons!! This will bill will NOT cause an increase in gun violence because the people that will now be able to carry concealed without a permit are law abiding citizens...

  • Tom Harris Jun 8, 9:34 a.m.
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    Who the heck even wanted this bill??? This is simply crazy and irresponsible legislating.

  • Ricky Parker Jun 8, 8:59 a.m.
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    Be responsible,take classes,remain law abiding,protect yourself and others.
    Law inforcement can't be with you 24/7 or in every restaurant,or social gathering.
    I actually like showing I have a pistol with me,in hopes tht it will prevent someone from being stupid.I also believe tht crime rates might would decrease because the stupid wouldn't know who is carrying and who isn't,however there should be laws to require gun safety classes,age of 21 and up a way tht the pistol has to be holstered for the safety of everyone,not just tucked inside ur waistband where a the individual could shoot them self or the weapon premaritally fire due to improper handling.