State Politics

Lawmakers want to allow handgun concealed carry without permit

rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

Ten North Carolina Republican legislators want handgun owners to be able to carry their weapons concealed without a permit.

House Bill 69, the “Constitution Carry Act,” would remove the concealed-carry permit requirement for handguns, but not for larger firearms.

A handgun is defined by the bill as “a firearm that has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.” Any U.S. citizen 18 years or older would be able to carry a concealed handgun under the proposed legislation unless otherwise disallowed by state or federal law.

In North Carolina, concealed carry of a handgun without a permit is a Class 2 misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class H felony for a subsequent offense.

Lawmakers proposed lifting permit requirements last year in the form of a constitutional amendment that would go to voters for consideration, but it never received a hearing.

Concealed carry of handguns still would have some limitations if the bill were to pass.

It would be illegal to concealed carry or have a dangerous weapon at all if the person is participating in, affiliated with or present as a spectator at a parade or funeral.

It also would be illegal to concealed carry a handgun in: any place where alcoholic drinks are sold and consumed and where firearms are not allowed; on the premises of the State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion or Western Residence of the governor; in courthouses; at picket lines and certain demonstrations; and some other areas.

Under the bill, it would be illegal to concealed carry while drinking alcohol, or any time while the carrier has any alcohol or controlled substance in their system.

Concealed carriers would also have to keep an identification on them at all times, disclose to any law enforcement officer who approaches or addresses them that they are carrying a concealed handgun, and show the officer their ID upon request.

A “conspicuous notice or statement” posted by the property owner would be required to prevent someone from concealed carrying on their property. Law enforcement would be an exception to this limitation.

It would still be illegal to concealed carry a bowie knife, dirk, dagger, sling shot, loaded cane, metal knuckles, razor, shuriken, stun gun or other deadly weapons except on a person’s private property. Pocket knives that cannot be opened by “a throwing, explosive or spring action” are permitted.

Some gun owners still may want to consider obtaining a concealed handgun permit, according to the bill, since it makes it more convenient to concealed carry when traveling outside North Carolina and makes buying a firearm more efficient.

The bill’s sponsors include Reps. Larry G. Pittman of Concord, Michael Speciale of New Bern, Beverly G. Boswell of Dare County and Jay Adams of Hickory.

Calls and emails to the bill’s primary sponsors were not immediately returned Thursday.

Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett

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