Series of bills seeks to move needle on gun rights in NC

Series of bills seeks to move needle on gun rights in NC
AP Photo/Wilson Ring

North Carolina is very much a part of the South, which would suggest to many that it’s pro-gun. In truth, many there do value gun rights and are working diligently to expand those rights in the state.

However, it also has a couple of metro areas that provide lawmakers very much in favor of keeping Jim Crow-era gun control laws on the books, even while also supporting the removal of historic status evocative of the time before civil rights.

Yet despite their best efforts, pro-gun bills are still introduced, and a series of them seek to move the state toward restoring gun rights.

Firearm use, storage, and sales in the Old North State are part of more than a half dozen bills introduced in the 2023 legislative session, with most aimed at expanding gun rights.

Some of the gun-related bills are targeted at specific citizens, while others could have broad implications for North Carolina’s gun owners.

House Bill 50, and an identical Senate Bill 40, would repeal several sections of law to eliminate the state’s pistol purchase permit.

“Prosecutions for offenses committed before the effective date of this act are not abated or affected by this act, and the statutes that would be applicable but for this act remain applicable to those prosecutions,” the bill reads. “This act is effective when it becomes law and applies to pistols sold, given away, transferred, purchased, or received on or after that date.”

House Bill 56 would create a tax exemption for equipment used to safely store firearms.

“A taxpayer who purchases, at retail, equipment exempt from taxation … is allowed a credit against the tax imposed by this Part equal to the lesser of the cost of the equipment paid during the taxable year or $500,” the bill reads.

The exemption would apply to devices installed on firearms to render them inoperable, or items including “a gun safe, gun case, lockbox, or other device that is designed, in light of materials used, to prevent access to a firearm by any means other than a key, a combination, biometric data, or other similar means.”

Not everything is pro-gun, however. There’s also a measure that seeks to criminalize leaving a firearm in your vehicle, which is ironic since prohibited places are still a thing.

Another bill expands the list of those who can get a carry permit without additional training to include parole and probation officers and yet another would create a gun storage education program.

For the most part, these are decent bills, and the tax credit should be the least controversial measure there is. After all, if you want people to store their guns, why not encourage them to do so with a bit of a tax credit? If any lawmaker opposes this and dares to say they support “gun safety,” we’ll all know them to be a liar. Safely storing guns is the epitome of gun safety, and encouraging people to do so is just common sense.

North Carolina has needed some of these measures, such as licensing reform, for decades. Others are just good ideas regardless of when they’re implemented.

Here’s hoping the state keeps the gun rights bills and discards anything else that pops up.