Rep. Michael Speciale (R-Craven) has filed an omnibus firearms bill that aims to accomplish many of the goals other firearms bills making their way through the legislature would, but would also establish concealed carry on the grounds of state-owned universities and community colleges.
HB588, filed on Wednesday, would allow those with a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) or those exempt from needing a CHP under the law to (such as a police officer) to carry a concealed weapon on state higher educational property, such as any school in the UNC system or the various community colleges across the state.
Currently about 10 states have some form of campus concealed carry. As of 2017, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin allow concealed carry on campus, while Tennessee allows faculty members with licenses to carry weapons on campus but the law does not extend to students or the general public.
Seventeen states ban concealed weapons on college campuses: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wyoming.
The other 23 states leave the decision up to the individual college or university.
One of the major impetuses for states to consider the question of campus concealed carry was the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting in which a student went on a shooting rampage, killing 32 people and wounding 17.
Several states are considering legislation to allow campus carry in 2017, and already a bill in Georgia is sitting on the governor’s desk for signature, though a 2016 campus carry bill was vetoed last year.
Speciale’s bill would also allow a county sheriff to, at his or her own discretion, request disclosure of any court orders concerning the mental health or mental capacity of an applicant seeking a pistol purchase permit.
Currently the law requires a sheriff to get that information for each permit and this change would make it optional.
As with other proposed firearms legislation, Speciale’s bill would repeal the pistol purchase permit system..
The bill would also allow for concealed carry in churches that operate schools as long as the school was not in session at the time, as well as properties owned by educational bodies that were not primarily used for education, such as a medical facility or a road going through an educational property.
The bill would also allow the governor and his or her immediate family to keep firearms at the Governor’s Mansion and the Western Residence of the Governor.
The bill would also open up concealed carry at the legislature for legislators and legislative employees as well as allowing the Legislative Services Commission to adopt rules prohibiting or regulating concealed or open carry at the legislature, except for the above-mentioned people.
The bill would also narrow what judges do with disposing of deadly weapons when cases involving those weapons are coming to a close.
The bill would also define the criminal charge of “going armed to the terror of the people” as a Class I misdemeanor and define it as “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 of the people.”
However, the bill makes clear that mere possession of an openly carried or concealed handgun shall not be enough to convict someone of that crime.
The bill would become effective when it became law, except for the repeal of the pistol purchase permit system, which would go into effect next year.