Under the Dome

Legislator wants to drop concealed weapon permits

Rep. Larry Pittman of Concord, N.C. talks with Rep. Bob Steinburg of Edenton, N.C. during the evening session of the North Carolina House of Representatives in Raleigh, N.C. on Monday April 25, 2016.
Rep. Larry Pittman of Concord, N.C. talks with Rep. Bob Steinburg of Edenton, N.C. during the evening session of the North Carolina House of Representatives in Raleigh, N.C. on Monday April 25, 2016. rwillett@newsobserver.com

Several N.C. House Republicans are proposing a constitutional amendment that would end the state’s permitting requirements for people who want to carry a concealed weapon.

Rep. Larry Pittman, a Concord Republican, filed the “Gun Rights Amendment” on Thursday. If Pittman’s bill passes, voters would be asked in the November election if they support a constitutional ban on concealed weapon permit regulations.

Pittman’s plan would leave the concealed carry permit process in place for anyone who needs a permit while traveling in other states.

“I believe that criminals do not obey any of our gun laws, anyway, and that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the only permit an honest citizen needs to carry concealed weapons with which to defend themselves, their families, and other innocent persons from criminals and terrorists,” Pittman wrote in an email to House members to recruit co-sponsors. “A concealed weapon is no more a threat to anyone than a weapon carried openly.”

Republican Reps. Michael Speciale of New Bern, Mark Brody of Monroe, Jeff Collins of Rocky Mount and Bert Jones of Reidsville have signed on as co-sponsors. It’s unclear whether House Speaker Tim Moore will bring the bill up for a vote.

Pittman’s bill would leave other regulations governing concealed weapons in place – allowing private businesses that serve alcohol to ban them, and continuing bans in courthouses and the State Capitol.

Some people would remain ineligible to carry a concealed weapon, including felons, people who were dishonorably discharged from the military and convicted drunk drivers.

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence is opposing the constitutional amendment.

“This bill would pose increased risks of handgun injuries and fatalities on city streets and in crowds in town centers,” executive director Becky Ceartas said. “The bill is reckless. It would put hidden handguns in the hands of people with no permits to carry and no safety training in how to use guns. Notably, 76 percent of gun owners and 88 percent of voters support safety training requirements and a clean criminal record for those who carry a concealed handgun in public.”

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