State Politics

Concealed weapons bill advances in House

Rep. Chris Millis, a Pender County Republican, watches the vote board on the floor of the North Carolina House of Representatives on May 17, 2017.
Rep. Chris Millis, a Pender County Republican, watches the vote board on the floor of the North Carolina House of Representatives on May 17, 2017. cdowell@NCInsider.com

A bill that would eliminate the requirement for most concealed handgun permits in North Carolina cleared a second House committee on Thursday.

The House Finance Committee approved House Bill 746 on a split, party-line vote. Democrats tried to put the brakes on the bill – which just began moving on Wednesday – on procedural grounds: that legislative staff hadn’t yet prepared analyses of the financial impact and the cost to the court system.

There was also confusion in the committee meeting about what the bill does.

It would allow anyone who is 18 or older, and not otherwise prohibited by law, to carry a handgun either openly or concealed without having to first qualify for a permit. Currently, concealed-carry permit applicants must be at least 21 years old.

Some circumstances would still require obtaining a concealed-carry permit under the bill, including complying with other states’ laws when traveling. Bill sponsor Rep. Chris Millis, a Republican from Hampstead, said Thursday the permit would also be required in businesses or other places where open-carry is prohibited.

The bill includes a provision to slightly raise the fee required to pay county sheriffs to handle the application process for concealed weapons permits. That financial element was necessary to keep the bill alive after it missed the deadline to cross over from the House to the Senate.

Legislative staff said the application fees add up to about $4 million a year on average, but a more detailed analysis still has to be done.

An earlier version of this story included an incorrect bill number for the gun bill.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO

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