Credit state Rep. Terry Garrison, a Democrat from Henderson, with summarizing the absurd logic behind a North Carolina House bill to ease requirements for carrying a concealed handgun in the state. (Concealed-carry permits would no longer be required.)
Said Garrison, who is a gun owner: “I question the need for a civilized society here in the 21st century to feel that the best deterrent toward violence and gun violence is to carry a weapon openly. Guns are made to kill. That’s the sole purpose.”
Garrison’s bought himself the wrath of the National Rifle Association and Grass Roots North Carolina, two groups adamantly against gun regulation, who support the House bill. But he’s 100 percent right: Dropping the concealed-carry permit requirement will make North Carolina a more dangerous place.
Let us hope that cooler heads in the state Senate will do something about this.
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The concealed-carry law is designed to make things a little safer, at the least. It offers some assurance that gun owners have a degree of skill and knowledge of their weapons, and that public places aren’t populated by people – without the training the current regulation requires – carrying weapons unseen. Weapons that could, in a moment of anger, be suddenly brought out to threaten or harm others.
The logic behind the bill is ludicrous, and given the level of gun violence in this society, the notion of easing regulation even more than Republicans have already relaxed it is nonsensical.
This bill would also, while allowing concealed-carry permits in some cases (people who wanted to carry concealed in other states, for example), limit the background information that county sheriffs can require of permit-holders. Come again? Independently elected sheriffs, charged with overseeing and ensuring the safety of the residents of their counties, would be limited by state lawmakers in doing that duty?
The bill would even allow legislators, legislative employees and some former law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons in the Legislative Building. And concealed- and open-carry firearms would be allowed at state highway rest stops and parks.
The objective of “gun rights” advocates, of course, is to ultimately remove all gun restrictions under the fanciful idea that Democrats and liberals are out to gut the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, something affirmed by President Donal Trump on the campaign trail. Yet there is no basis in that contention, and those who are using it to rally right-wing support know it. This bill is one more bad example of what happens when harmless rhetoric turns into harmful reality.