New life for permitless carry push in North Carolina?

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

There’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the drive for constitutional carry in North Carolina this session, with local Second Amendment organization Grassroots NC accusing the NRA of hindering the legislation by objecting to an amendment that would have required individuals to first take a concealed carry course before they could lawfully carry. The NRA, meanwhile, contends that it won’t compromise on a critically important issue like permitless carry, and that mandating training waters down the permitless carry bill to the point that it’s not worth supporting.


When HB 189 was pulled from consideration by House Speaker Tim Moore ahead of the legislature’s crossover deadline last month, it looked like the issue was dead for this session, and potentially next year as well. But in an alert sent to members on Monday morning, Grassroots NC head Paul Valone says he’s hoping to revive the legislation, and it sounds like the bill sponsor is on board.

Having missed the legislative “crossover deadline,” the only way to revive the bill is to add a financial appropriation, which would make it immune from the crossover deadline. The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Keith Kidwell, has expressed willingness to do so.

You helped us pass SB 41. Now help us pass permitless carry, eliminating the need for a governmental “permission slip” to exercise your Second Amendment rights. With recent passage in Florida and Nebraska, bringing permitless carry states to 27, NC is now among a minority still requiring governmental permits.

Important points on HB 189:

  1. Reciprocity/NICS bypass: HB 189 leaves intact NC’s concealed handgun permit system in order to bypass NICS for gun purchases and to  ensure reciprocity with other states;
  2. “Constitutional” carry? Although HB 189 is not a “pure” constitutional carry bill, since it offers permitless carry to those who don’t have offenses which would prevent them from getting a permit, it represents a giant step forward by eliminating the need for a concealed handgun permit and providing a base for future improvements.
  3. Training: Although even some gun rights advocates have objected to the nominal training provision added as the Speaker’s condition for moving the bill, the training required does not create any central database of those who have taken it, may be conducted by NRA, USCCA, or an online NC course, and no proof of training needs to be carried.

Valone is right that under the current text of HB 189 no proof of training is required, or at least isn’t required to be carried by lawful gun owners. In fact, the bill is pretty vague about when proof of training would need to be shown. It seems to me to be a largely unenforceable condition, or at most a misdemeanor charge that would most likely be added on to those arrested for other, more serious offenses. In fact, I’m just as concerned about this provision being used as plea bargain bait for those accused of violent crime as I am about the possibility of the language ensnaring lawful gun owners.

Those plea deals are gonna be offered regardless, unfortunately, and if this is the only possible of permitless carry that could get enacted this year it might be worth it. It’s easier to amend a law once its in place, and if the training mandate proves to be unworkable or unenforceable lawmakers can always go back next year and repeal the offending provision. But since there needs to be some sort of financial appropriation attached in order to revive the bill, I’d suggest changing the training mandate for gun owners and instead mandate that county sheriffs provide that training on a regular basis to anyone who’s interested or providing tax credits or rebates to those who take a carry class on their own. That would still foster education and training, but wouldn’t impose an unenforceable mandate on either gun owners or law enforcement.


The legislature is recessed until next Monday, and Valone is hoping that North Carolina gun owners will flood the voicemail and inboxes of lawmakers between now and then urging them to get behind the revival of permitless carry. We’ll be following up with Valone in the coming days and will hopefully have some good news to report, but for now HB 189 appears to be only mostly dead for this session.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member