Anti-Gun Activists Back NC Governor's Veto Of Church Carry Bill

A battle is brewing in North Carolina over Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that would have expanded concealed carry to churches in the state that meet in private schools or have private schools on their property. It’s a fairly minor bill, all things considered, but Cooper has morphed over the past few years from a state lawmaker who was “A-rated” by the NRA to a governor who’ll veto any legislation that strengthens the right to keep and bear arms.

GOP legislative leaders are already talking about overriding Cooper’s veto of HB 652, which received support from a dozen  Democrats along with every Republican member of the House. Now anti-gun activists are weighing in and encouraging supporters of gun control to speak up in opposition to private property and Second Amendment rights. The anti-gun group North Carolinians Against Gun Violence is lobbying for Cooper’s veto to be sustained for the sake of “school children, teachers, and for people in emergency situations.”

To protect children, current state law prohibits concealed firearms at places of worship that have an associated school. This belief remains sound public policy. Removing this protection puts school children at increased risk regardless of whether the firearms are allowed during curricular and extracurricular activities.

“We oppose H652 and are thankful and appreciative that Governor Cooper agrees and vetoed this bill,” said NCGV Executive Director Becky Ceartas. “H652 circumvents state policy outlawing concealed carry of firearms on school grounds and would put school children at greater risk of gun violence. State law applies to both public and private school property and makes no exception for schools owned and operated by places of worship for a simple reason: it endangers school children.”

Yes, gun control advocates are actually arguing that churches that have an associated school would be putting children at risk by allowing concealed carry in their Sunday services when school isn’t in session. Of course, the anti-gun group doesn’t want to stop there. They’re also calling for state law to be changed to prohibit the lawful carrying of firearms in churches completely.

Current law that allows people to carry firearms into a place of worship not associated with a school is also dangerous. At a minimum, places of worship should be required to “opt-in” to concealed carry and post public notices so that people know if people might be legally carrying firearms. At present the default requires religious places of worship to “opt out”. H652 also would require opting out.

Ideally, for NCAGV, pastors, imams, rabbis, and other religious leaders wouldn’t be allowed to permit concealed carry in a house of worship. The gun control advocates want to take that choice away from faith leaders and their congregations, and simply make it a crime for any church to allow the practice. As NRA-ILA pointed out in a recent member alert about HB 652, Texas gun owner Jack Wilson was able to thwart a church shooter last year thanks to the fact that he and other church members were able to lawfully carry, but gun control advocates simply want church-goers to be disarmed, even if their own pastor disagrees.

In addition, the anti-gun group also objects to other provisions of HB 652 dealing with the renewal of concealed carry licenses and allowing some first responders to lawfully carry while on the job. NCAGV says the bill:

  • weakens NC’s concealed carry weapons permitting system by making it easier to renew a permit without an in-person firearms safety and training course if renewed within a certain amount of time. Given that permits last five years, we need to strengthen our permitting system, not weaken it.
  • allows on-duty emergency medical services personnel working with law enforcement to carry concealed if they meet certain criteria. We simply do not need more people carrying deadly weapons in emergency situations.

Again, a simple change like allowing concealed carry holders a couple months grace period to renew their license isn’t a huge change, but it’s also a bridge too far for the gun control group, which wants to make it has burdensome and onerous as possible to exercise your Second Amendment rights.

Their opposition to allowing some emergency medical workers to carry while working with law enforcement allows NCAGV to toss in a little bit of anti-police rhetoric into the mix. Given the fact that NCAGV has regularly lobbied for gun control laws that would put North Carolinians in prison for non-violent firearms offenses like possessing a “large capacity” magazine or an unlicensed handgun, it’s important for them to do anything they can to distract their fellow Lefties from the fact that gun control requires enforcement by armed police.

A veto override attempt could come as early as this week in the North Carolina state House, and hopefully gun owners across the state have been contacting their lawmakers to stay the course with their original vote and strike down Gov. Cooper’s veto. These may be minor changes to state law in the grand scheme of things, but given the vociferous opposition to them by gun control advocates it’s important that Second Amendment supporters stand and fight for the commonsense changes to become law.