A bill that would have opened up permitless concealed carry of a handgun in North Carolina may be headed for the shredder after dying in committee last session – but it will be back next year, Grass Roots North Carolina President Paul Valone said.
HB 1148, sponsored by Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), would have opened up concealed carry in the state to any U.S. citizen who is 21 years old and who meets the qualifications for obtaining a concealed handgun permit. The bill would also have put forward a change to the state Constitution to make the change possible.
The bill died in the Rules Committee, historically a graveyard for legislation that leadership does not want to deal with.
“Oh, it’ll be back next session,” Valone said. “We will bring it back again and again until it passes.”
Valone says that he would like to believe the bill was just introduced too late: It was filed at the beginning of June. However, a similar bill filed during the last session also went nowhere.
Valone said that although conservatives have control of the legislature, even maintaining a supermajority in both chambers, they have grown afraid of losing it.
“They are so worried about angering the voters,” Valone said. “And unfortunately we have a bunch of RINOs (Republican in Name Only) up there.”
Taking another run at permitless carry – sometimes called Constitutional Carry – is priority number two for Valone, behind ridding the state of the “Jim Crow era” Pistol Purchase Permit requirement.
An effort to do just that failed in the Long Session in 2015.
Third for Valone is the establishment of an enhanced concealed handgun permit for people with advanced training. Such a permit would authorize holders to carry firearms in more places.
A bill filed by Sen. Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg) would have done just that, but it too wound up in the legislative cemetery. One problem may have been its name, “the Homeland Security Patriot Act,” a moniker that seemed a distraction rather than an asset in the debate.
The bill would also have put a referendum in front of the people 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 state Constitution following its 1875 recodification.
Concealed carry was legalized here in 1995.
If the amendment were approved, then coupled with a statute opening up concealed carry, citizens would have been 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.
Some of the opposition to the change seems to be coming from people who are making money on the current process – from sheriff’s offices to private businesses that are teaching the required classes.
Under the draft bill, the permit process would still have remained, as well as the pistol purchase permit (PPP) system.
A concealed handgun permit would still have allowed a resident to bypass the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to buy a firearm and removed the need for a state PPP to get a handgun, as well as authorizing concealed carry in states that maintain reciprocity with North Carolina.