Gun-control groups are moving quickly to try to defeat a bill in the state House that would eliminate in most cases the requirement to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
The bill would also allow anyone 18 or older to carry a concealed weapon – without obtaining a concealed-carry permit – in any place where weapons can be carried openly. Current law requires permit applicants be at least 21 years old.
Backers say it is a common-sense measure that allows people to conceal their handguns in any place where they’re allowed to carry them openly.
The proposal, House Bill 746, has cleared two committees and is expected to go before the full House later this week.
Two organizations commissioned polls showing overwhelming opposition to the bill.
The North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund commissioned a poll by SurveyUSA. It found that 89 percent of the state’s voters favor retaining the requirement to obtain concealed-carry permits.
That includes 83 percent of respondents who identified themselves as gun owners.
John “Curly” Brazelton of Havelock, a former Marine who belongs to a hunting club, said in an interview with The N&O last week that everyone in his hunting club opposes the idea of eliminating concealed-carry permits.
“We all have them,” Brazelton said. “We have the best law in the country right now.”
The second poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling for Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group formed by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was seriously wounded by a gunman in a constituents’ meeting in Arizona in 2011.
That survey found nearly identical opinions, including that 82 percent of the state’s voters – and 80 percent of gun owners – think the current law should be continued.
Americans for Responsible Solutions also launched a digital ad campaign urging people to tell their legislators they oppose the bill.
The SurveyUSA poll was of 1,025 people. Of those, 882 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 808 said they voted in last November’s general election. PPP reported surveying 650 voters.
The liberal advocacy group Progress N.C. joined the gun-control groups pushing to defeat the bill, by announcing a petition drive over the weekend.