It's definitely not your average committee meeting: Catawba Republican Mark Hilton is sponsoring a concealed-weapon class at the legislative building. It's the first of its kind, as far as anyone can recall.
This email went out yesterday afternoon to all lawmakers and their staffers.
From: Carol Wilson (Rep. Hilton)
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 04:31 PM
To: @House/Members; @House/Legislative Assistants; @Senate/Members; @Senate/Legislative Assistants
Subject: Conceal Carry Class
Representative Hilton is inviting Members and staff to a conceal carry class on Tuesday, March 29th and Wednesday the 30th from 6:30 pm till 10:30 pm in Room 1228. The class is available at the cost of $25.00, which is due at registration. Please reply to this email if interested.
Office of Representative Mark Hilton
Reached at home today, Hilton explained no guns will be brought on General Assembly grounds for the class. Instead, after the 8 hours of classroom time, the group will go to a local firing range for the hands-on part of the training.
Hilton says the class will be taught by “a friend” and fellow policeman who’s a qualified instructor — Eric Weaver, who coincidentally ran for House seat 35 (Wake) in 2008.
As a police officer, Hilton can carry his weapon on any state property, but otherwise, state law prohibits concealed weapons in the legislative building. Hilton is co-sponsor of a bill that would change that, H184, allowing all elected state and local officials to carry concealed weapons anywhere.
He also filed a bill this week, H390, that would do away with state handgun permits.
“I really don’t see the need for them,” Hilton said, noting that federal background checks are all that’s required for “long gun” sales. He says most other states don’t require special permits. “We’re just trying to conform to the states around us.”
Current North Carolina law puts county sheriffs in charge of handling handgun permits. Hilton says that’s a problem. “You go to different counties across the state, and sheriffs have arbitrarily put their own requirements in place. They’ll want multiple character references, or you have to bring a person with you. We don’t think that’s something sheriffs ought to be doing.”
Hilton is also a primary sponsor of H227, which would loosen state restrictions on buying handguns in other states, H63, requiring employers to allow employees to have guns on the property in their locked cars, H111, requiring cities to allow concealed weapons in parks, and H74, the Castle Doctrine, presuming self-defense for anyone who shoots someone they believe is trying to break into their home, car, or place of work.
Find more on several of those proposals here.