Rep. Chris Millis (R-Pender) filed a more aggressive version of an earlier gun rights bill aimed at installing constitutional carry in the state while also repealing the pistol purchase permit system in the state.
If the bill is approved, North Carolina would join a growing group of about a quarter of the states that have constitutional carry, or legal concealed carry without a permit.
HB201, which has been placed in the Judiciary I Committee, includes much of the same language as Rep. Larry Pittman’s (R-Cabarrus) constitutional carry bill, HB69, also in Judiciary I, but includes a few marked differences.
Whereas Pittman’s bill is cleaner and focuses on a single issue, repealing the requirement to have a concealed handgun permit to lawfully conceal a handgun in the state, Millis’ bill would, among other differences, include a short, one-sentence, section repealing the pistol purchase permit requirement, a move that has been resisted by the North Carolina Sheriffs Association in the past.
Both bills would retain the concealed handgun permit system, which is currently useful for purchasing handguns without a pistol purchase permit or allowing a permit-holder to purchase a long gun without having to go through background checks that have already been completed as part of the permit process each time they buy a shotgun or rifle.
Even if Millis’ bill, passed the permit would be useful for carrying in states that maintain reciprocity with North Carolina for concealed carry and for purchasing firearms without the need for waiting for a background check.
The heart of both bills is simply codifying current restrictions on who is eligible for a concealed handgun permit and where permit holders can carry their handguns law without the need for a permit.
The only change from current law is that an 18-year-old would be able to conceal a handgun, whereas currently a person must be 21 years old to obtain a concealed handgun permit.
Both bills, in their current form, include oversight language that would omit former armed service-members from the ability to carry a handgun without a permit by including language that precludes anyone who received anything other than an honorable discharge from the armed forces to receive a permit, as opposed to a dishonorable discharge.
Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, said it would need to be fixed during the legislative process as the bill moves through committee. GRNC supports both bills and would like to see either one move forward.
Valone said that the two bills are largely the same and that Pittman’s bill remained more narrowly focused in the hopes that it would have an easier time moving through the legislature, while Millis’ bill is more aggressive.
“HB69 and HB201 are largely the same bill. HB201 includes a repeal of the pistol purchase system, and while that sounds like a wonderful thing, we specifically did not include repeal of the pistol purchase permit system to avoid the fire of the sheriffs’ association,” Valone said.
In a release GRNC said, “Both bills remove the need to have a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun in places where you may currently do so. Neither bill opens up new areas to concealed carry. Both bills create a new Article 54C which mirrors the prohibitions currently in place for permit-holders by applying them to people who carry without permits. Each bill has strong points and weak points.”
Valone said that the two bills may be combined into one bill that retains the strongest aspects of each before leaving the Judiciary I Committee and heading to Finance on a serial referral.