A North Carolina Senate Republican has authored Senate Bill 708 (PDF), the “Homeland Security Patriot Act.”

The bill would create a new class of enhanced concealed carry permit holder with a badge and the ability to carry a firearm anywhere a law enforcement officer may also carry a weapon. The media doesn’t sound terribly excited.

If Sen. Jeff Tarte gets his way this year in the General Assembly, North Carolina could have a new class of concealed carry gun permit holders who could take their firearms anywhere police officers do.

Senate Bill 708, which would create the “Homeland Security Unrestricted Concealed Handgun Permit,” is among several gun bills filed in the state legislature this year aimed at easing restrictions on gun owners and streamlining the permitting process…

…Tarte, R-Mecklenburg, said the only place those holding an unrestricted concealed carry permit would not be able to bring a gun would be a courtroom.

“Theoretically, you’d be able to carry in a facility that has ‘no guns allowed’ signs,” Tarte said. “We have to clarify (the bill) on individual property owner rights — if someone wanted to preclude you from carrying a gun on their private property.”

He sees several benefits to the proposed law, which he stressed is “not a marshals program, per se.”

“First, while police do a great job, in most of the situations where you have mass murders, it happens in a instant and there’s no time for police to respond,” Tarte said.

Also, as the law stands now, a concealed carry permit holder who brings a concealed gun into a building with posted signs prohibiting concealed weapons could lose his permit. This law would eliminate that scenario.

Predictably, the comments to this article and others covering the story are filled with outraged cries that if the bill became law that “we’ll return to the wild west,” and that there will be “blood in the streets.” Of course, they’ve been making similar claims for the past 30 years as concealed carry has expanded across then nation, and the claims simply don’t hold up.

The requirements for the proposed permit are extensive, with the applicant needing to undergo extensive background checks, a psychological assessment, and undergo an advanced concealed carry course and a separate simunitions (presumably force-on-force) training course. While the details are yet to be ironed out, this seems to be more extensive firearms training than that of most law enforcement officers.

The enhanced permit will be “shall issue” by the county sheriff, unless the sheriff finds a reason to deny the application. If the sheriff does deny the permit, he must issue a written explanation within 45 days, and that decision may be appealed to a district court judge, whose determination in the matter will be final.

Unlike existing concealed carry permits who can semi-automatically reapply without retaking a re-certification class, citizens with the enhanced permit must re-certify by retaking the enhanced carry permit class and the simunitions training every five years. It isn’t yet known what the cost of the enhanced carry course and the simunitions training classes will be if the bill becomes law, but the permit fee for the enhanced permit is the same as that of a regular concealed carry permit at $80, with renewals at $75. The total cost of training, psychological screening and other requirements, however, may push the actual cost of obtaining such a permit near $1,000.

Opposition to the training is no doubt going to hinge around the fact that the enhanced permit holder would be able to carry firearms virtually anywhere, even posted “gun free zones” such as schools, churches, and private businesses.

This doesn’t seem to be a very rational argument, however, as the applicants will have background checks as intensive as those for law enforcement officers, and apparently better firearms-specific training.

If the bill passes into law, Tarte expects that the number of permits issued to be relatively few, only a few hundred for the entire state.

I think he’d be surprised at the number of serious students of the gun who would be willing to jump through the hoops to get such a permit to protect themselves, their families, and the public at large.