Following a controversial ruling limiting concealed carry rights in a California federal court, state leaders are looking to expand gun rights with a bill that would eliminate the need for a concealed handgun permit to conceal a handgun.
HB1148, sponsored by Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), would open up concealed carry in the state to any U.S. citizen that is 21 years old and meets the qualifications for obtaining a concealed handgun permit as well as making a change to the state Constitution to make the change possible.
The bill would put a referendum in front of the people, presumably in the General Election in November, to choose whether or not to remove a portion of the state recognition of the right to bear arms that says, “Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.”
The section was added into the Constitution following the 1971 recodification of the state Constitution.
Concealed carry was passed in the state in 1995.
If approved, then coupled with the section opening up concealed carry, citizens would be able to freely conceal their handguns wherever it was legal.
This would not just apply to residents of North Carolina but to all U.S. citizens.
“We support the bill, we have supported Constitutional, or permitless, carry for some time,” Grass Roots North Carolina President Paul Valone said. “The concept of permitless carry is something we support.”
Some of the opposition to the change seems to be coming from people who are making money on the process from sheriff’s offices to private businesses that are teaching the required classes.
“A lot of people are making money on concealed handgun permits,” Valone said. “This does not eliminate the concealed carry permit system.”
Under the draft bill the permit process would still exist, as well as the pistol purchase permit (PPP) system.
A concealed handgun permit would still allow a resident to bypass the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to buy a firearm and removes the need for a state PPP to get a handgun as well as concealing a firearm in states that maintain reciprocity with North Carolina.
“Essentially permitless concealed carry has caused problems in none of the 13 states that have adopted it,” Valone said. “As usual predictions of mayhem have fallen short as it does every time carry rights are advanced. GRNC very much supports Larry Pittman’s bill.”
The bill would essentially also have the effect of recognizing the right to conceal a firearm as part of the state Constitution, the exact opposite of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.
In a 7-4 decision the court ruled “the right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment.”
Under this ruling the court also ruled that any “prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry” is permissible, which would include as it says, prohibition on concealed carry.
Gun rights advocates are up in arms over the move, especially in a state like California, which bans open carry.