NC Gun Owners Launch Push for Constitutional Carry

Townhall Media

We've already seen Louisiana and South Carolina join the ranks of permitless carry states this year, but there's a third state where the votes are there, at least in theory, to remove the requirement of a state-issued permission slip before folks can exercise their right to bear arms. 


Grassroots North Carolina's Paul Valone tells Bearing Arms Cam & Co that the organization is mounting a major push to make the state the 30th in the nation to adopt a permitless carry bill. The first step is already underway, with Grassroots NC collecting thousands of signatures to a petition that will be presented to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger later this month. 

Valone says HB 189 easily passed the House last year and was headed for a vote on the Senate floor when Berger abruptly pulled the bill from consideration, telling reporters "We've done away with the pistol purchase permit, which was the number one goal for the gun rights groups for a long period of time. I just don't know that there's a need for us to delve into additional issues dealing with guns and people's Second Amendment rights." 

"I guess it's not a Bill of Rights anymore but a Bill of Needs, and the person who's going to decide whether we need Constitutional Carry or not is Phil Berger, self-appointed arbiter of needs," Valone said, adding that the group isn't taking Berger's declaration lying down. 

Instead, the group is hoping to put pressure on Berger and Senate leadership to take up HB 189 when lawmakers return to Raleigh for the second year of the two-year session. Valone acknowledges that Gov. Roy Cooper is sure to veto the bill if it gets to his desk, but with a GOP supermajority in both chambers of the legislature, the votes to override Cooper's veto should be there.


If the measure doesn't get a vote in the Senate this year, legislators will have to start the process all over again, and Valone says there's no guarantee that Republicans will maintain their veto-proof majority in November. This year's session would seem to be the ideal time to advance Constitutional Carry, but Valone says some lawmakers are afraid of making the change an issue during an election year. 

"I've heard from Republicans who say 'well, Constitutional Carry doesn't poll well', as though your civil rights should depend on polls," Valone scoffed. "That could be part of their motivation, but the bottom line and the message we've been delivering is that Republicans in other states, in 29 other states, in a majority of red states, have now passed some form of Constitutional Carry, and we think it's high time that Republicans in North Carolina remember who brung 'em to the dance and pass this thing now." 

Constitutional Carry is likely to be a hot topic regardless of whether it's enacted into law this session. Republican gubernatorial nominee Mark Robinson has already come out in favor of the measure, and though Democrat Josh Stein has not directly attacked the idea this year he's previously panned the repeal of the state's pistol purchase permit law and called for gun control measures like a "red flag" law, "universal" background checks, and raising the age to purchase semi-automatic long guns from 18 to 21. 


There's a stark contrast between Republicans and Democrats in North Carolina when it comes to our Second Amendment rights, and GOP lawmakers should be embracing their support for the right to keep and bear arms, not running away from their position because they think it makes them vulnerable come November. If they won't stand up and fight for our Second Amendment rights now, some gun owners may very well decide they're not worth supporting on Election Day. 

Adopting Constitutional Carry is the right thing to do from a civil rights perspective, but it's also the smart move politically. Holding off until after the election could easily lead to a situation where the legislature is powerless to challenge a gubernatorial veto, but it won't make Constitutional Carry a non-issue between now and November. Either way, the right to keep and bear arms will be an important topic for voters, and Republicans looking to gain ground this fall would be wise to give gun owners a very good reason to turn out in support instead of staying home in disgust and frustration. 

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