Under the Dome

Gun bills filed; more coming

Another group of guns bills have been filed in the state Senate, making it likely that this session will revisit social issues -- an abortion bill has also been filed – in addition to the bigger themes of jobs and the economy.

Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Republican from Cornelius, has filed three of the gun bills.

Senate Bill 708 would create a new secret class of concealed weapons permit-holders, giving them the authority to carry handguns anywhere that law enforcement officers can, including into any place that posts a sign prohibiting concealed firearms.

Those qualified to carry the new “homeland security permits” would be given badges. They would have to undergo advanced training and other additional requirements that would have to be written by the state. The public would not be able to find out who has been given the permits.

Tarte’s SB394 would prohibit counties and cities from imposing taxes or other restrictions on the manufacture or transportation of firearms. Anyone who violates those provisions, if the bill becomes law, could be sued for actual damages up to $100,000, punitive damages of $5,000 to $100,000, and a civil fine of up to $5,000.

The state or county official violating that law could be removed from office or lose their job.

Tarte’s SB641 would make qualifying for concealed handgun permits more unified across the state. Anyone who has been treated in the past for temporary mental disorders would not be automatically disqualified.

Sen. Norm Sanderson, a Republican from Arapahoe, has filed SB648, which would exempt North Carolina-made firearms, accessories and ammunition from federal regulation under the commerce clause, so long as they remain in the state. Former state representative Glen Bradley tried to do that in 2011 but was unsuccessful.

A gun-rights group says more legislation is coming.