An omnibus firearms bill filed by Rep. Michael Speciale (R-Craven) would ease restrictions on concealed carry on educational property, allow the governor to have firearms in the Governor’s Mansion and the Western Residence as well as allow legislators and legislative employees to conceal a handgun in the legislature.
HB345 would ease restrictions on educational properties that are not primarily used for education purposes such as a religious institution that operates a school on a part-time basis, university hospitals and land and facilities not primarily used for education activities.
The bill would also extend the five-year time frame that pistol purchase permits are valid to 10 years before a permit expires after a sheriff issues it.
The bill would also fix what many have called oversight language in the law that prevents a sheriff from approving permit applications if the applicant received an other-than-honorable discharge from the armed forces.
Speciale’s bill would change that language to limit it to servicemen who received a dishonorable discharge only.
The bill would also lay out how judges will dispose of weapons if a defendant is convicted of a crime, instead of leaving the method to the discretion of the judge.
Under current law a judge has the ability to choose how disposition of a deadly weapon is handled after a trial when a defendant is convicted of a crime involving a deadly weapon.
Speciale’s bill would ensure that stolen weapons would be required to be returned to their rightful owner, if that person is eligible to own it, instead of being destroyed or given over to the control of a law enforcement agency to sell or use for training.
This would ensure that the rightful owner of a firearm would be able to have the firearm returned to them after a trial proceeding as opposed to losing that firearm because it was stolen and used for an illegal purpose.
The bill would also create a new criminal charge in the state for going armed to the terror of the people, which has been used against gun owners in the past carrying firearms, but with the exception that merely having a handgun carried in the open or concealed would not qualify for a charge under this statute, which would be a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
Under the bill “A person who arms himself or herself with an unusual and dangerous weapon for the purpose of terrifying others and goes about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to the people” could be charged under this new criminal statute.
The bill would also provide legislators and legislative employees the right to carry a concealed handgun on the grounds of the legislature and in its buildings as long as that person had a concealed handgun permit.
All that would be required is that the person inform the chief of the General Assembly Special Police before beginning to carry.
A similar bill filed last session would have given the chief the discretion to allow the carrying of a concealed handgun by a legislators or their employees but the new bill would make it a right as long as the chief was informed.
The bill would also allow the governor and their immediate family to keep firearms in the Governor’s Mansion and at the Western Residence of the Governor where they live even though it is state property.
The bill would also extend the timeframe that a retired law enforcement officer, parole officer or corrections officer has to apply for a special concealed carry permit through the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission instead of going through the usual permitting process.