Raleigh, N.C. — Last year's castle doctrine bill expanded a number of rights for handgun owners, but the measure is apparently not the last word on gun bills for the two-year legislation session.
Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, has filed S 924: Handgun on Educational Property, limited exceptions, to address what he says is a problem at one particular church in his district.
The bill would apply to churches that host K-12 classrooms during the school week. Current law forbids conceal-carry permit holders from bringing their guns onto "educational property." At least one interpretation of that law, Goolsby said, would prohibit parishioners from bringing their firearms onto church grounds even when school is out.
"They have been told that that could possibly be a violation of firearms laws if (members of) their security team -- who is made up ... of a local law enforcement officer but then volunteers from the church, many of who have conceal weapons permits -- have a concealed weapon on church ground even when school's not in session," Goolsby said Monday night.
He said his bill would clarify the law and make sure members of that security team wouldn't be charged with a crime if they bring their weapons onto church grounds.
"It'll help protect this congregation because they're concerned," Goolsby said.
The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Rules Committee, which is often a parking place for bills that legislative leaders want to make sure don't make too much progress. But Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, told me that this bill may move. However, he said that if it does get a hearing, it would be late in this summer's short session.