Under the Dome

‘Gun rights’ constitutional amendment won’t get vote, NC House leader says

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

A House leader said he doesn’t think legislators will take action on a controversial bill to 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” last Thursday. It would ask voters in the November election if they support a constitutional ban on concealed weapon permit regulations.

The bill garnered more attention Monday in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, and gun control supporters started a petition drive to oppose the measure. Several dozen people also gathered Monday night at the Legislative Building, calling on lawmakers to reject the proposal.

House Speaker Tim Moore referred the gun bill to the Rules Committee on Monday night. That committee’s chairman, Rep. David Lewis of Dunn, said he doesn’t expect to hold a hearing or vote on the bill this year because legislators are busy crafting a budget.

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

“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,” Pittman wrote in an email to House members last week.

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence said the constitutional amendment “would pose increased risks of handgun injuries and fatalities on city streets and in crowds in town centers.”

While some said looser gun laws shouldn’t be considered in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, Pittman disagrees.

“The incident in Orlando does make the point of my proposed amendment to the N.C. Constitution very clearly,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Especially in these times, our people need to be armed.”

“My bill proposes a constitutional amendment,” Pittman added. “That means it asks for the people to have a chance to decide. Those who govern should have no problem with allowing the people to make that decision unless they have untrustworthy motives.”

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