Guns

Legislative leaders are uncertain what, if any, legislation related to firearms will move this year. STATUS: Before leaving session in 2013, the General Assembly approved a sweeping package of firearms related laws. The measure includes both harsher punishments for those who violate statutes as well as broadening the number of places where those with concealed handgun permits can bring their weapons.

The December 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Mass., sparked a national conversation on guns. Many political leaders, including President Barack Obama, have pledged to push for legislation better tracking who can buy firearms and curbing the use of certain kinds of weapons seen as particularly problematic.

In North Carolina, legislative leaders say they are uncertain whether the state will push through any firearm related legislation this year. In 2011, there was a major expansion of where those with concealed handgun permits may take their weapons. However, in 2012, a bill that would have allowed concealed handgun permit holders to carry into restaurants that served alcohol died in the Senate.

Many gun control advocates argue that North Carolina ought to at least require background checks for all gun sales. Currently, North Carolina residents may buy rifles and shotguns from a private seller without a background check or permit. 

Bills and status: 

Update (7/29/13): Before leaving session in 2013, the General Assembly approved a sweeping package of firearms related laws. The measure includes both harsher punishments for those who violate statutes as well as broadening the number of places where those with concealed handgun permits can bring their weapons.

Update (7/18/13): The House rejected the Senate version of the omnibus firearms bill. Negotiators are hoping to work out their differences before the legislature adjourns the week of 7/21. 

Update (6/23/13): The state House and Senate have both passed an "omnibus" firearms bill. House bill 937 incorporates dozens of changes to firearms laws, including new penalties for those who commit gun crimes. The measure allows those with concealed handgun permits to bring their guns in more places, including playgrounds and restaurants that serve alcohol.

However, the measure also eliminates the state's pistol permit system for buying handguns. This provision has earned the measure opposition from both the N.C. Sheriffs' Association and the state's police chiefs. The bill has passed both the House and Senate but is sitting in the House Rules committee for a pending concurrence vote. 

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Update (5/6/13): The state House passed a broad gun policy bill on May 6. The bill has two basic sections. One section, favored by law enforcement, increases penalties for gun-related crimes and requires faster reporting of those with mental health problems to a national database of used for background checks. More controversial sections of the bill allow those with concealed handgun permits to carry their weapons into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol and leave them in the trunk of their car when driving onto a college campus. The measure is now pending in the state Senate.

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The full House voted on March 26 to approve House Bill 17, a measure that would remove concealed handgun permit information from the public record. During an earlier committee meeting on the topic, lawmakers removed a section of the bill that would have allowed permit holders to carry their firearms in restaurants where alcohol is served. The bill now goes to the Senate. 

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On March 5, the House Rules Committee debated and passed a measure that would oppose any push for more gun control at the federal level. However, House Resolution 63 has yet to be heard by the full House.

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Senate Bill 28 is similar to the provision in House Bill 17 that removes concealed handgun permit from public view.

The Senate J2 Committee heard Senate Bill 28, removing concealed handgun permit information from public view, on Thursday, Feb. 14. It took no action. 

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Other filed bills: As of April 5, 30 bills affecting the state's firearm laws have been filed by House and Senate lawmakers. Among those measures are: 

  • House Bill 17 was filed on the first day of session. It would allow those with a concealed handgun permit to bring their weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol. The bill would also remove databases that contain the names of permit holders from public view. 
  • Senate Bill 17 would end reciprocity for some concealed handgun permit holders from other states. Specifically, if the person does not live in the state that issued the permit, North Carolina would no longer recognize the permit as valid.
  • Senate Bill 27 would allow for certain volunteers to use firearms on school property. 
  • House Bill 49 says the gun owners can have a firearm locked in their car, even if it is parked on a property where the owners has posted a sign prohibiting firearms. 
  • House Bill 63 is a resolution opposing any federal efforts to curb gun ownership rights. 
  • Senate Bill 59, much like Senate Bill 27, would create a program to allow armed guards in schools. Some of these guards could be volunteers who pass certain training. 
  • Senate Bill 124: Makes discharging a firearm inside a building or vehicle "with the intent to do harm or incite fear" a Class E felony. 
  • House Bill 246: Would add gun rights to the state constitution. 
  • Senate Bill 224: Would allow for Sunday hunting on private land. 
  • House Bill 310: Would allow sheriff's to skip mental health background checks on those applying for handgun permits.
  • Senate Bill 342: Would amend a number of gun laws, including those that currently prohibit handguns in establishments that serve alcohol. The bill would also make it illegal for felons to posses ammunition. 
  • House Bill 405: Would allow judges with concealed handgun permits to carry their firearms into courthouses. 

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