The state of North Carolina has always struck me as a little strange.
On one hand, they’re a southern state, which suggests they’re likely to be pretty pro-gun. Then we have the fact that their gun laws are anything but.
Don’t get me wrong, I know why they aren’t. They’re holdovers from Jim Crow, ones Democrats aren’t ready to let go of just yet.
But it’s still strange.
Nonetheless, the state is making some positive moves on gun rights, with different bills passing each chamber.
Both sides of the General Assembly approved separate gun rights bills in a flurry of activity on Jones Street last week.
In the NC House, a bill that would allow licensed conceal carry holders to carry in educational facilities used in places of religious worship passed by a 77-43 vote with six Democrats joining Republicans in support.
The bill, HB 49, carves out specific exceptions to the prohibition of weapons on educational property.
That includes ensuring the property is not owned by a local board of education or county commission, is not property of a public or private institution of higher education, does not post a notice prohibiting carrying a concealed handgun on the premises, and is only carried on the property outside of school operating hours.
In the NC Senate, a couple of stand alone bills were rolled into SB 41, the Guarantee 2nd Amendment Freedom and Protections Act.
The bill adds concealed carry for certain law enforcement facility employees, repeals the state’s Pistol Purchase Permit system, and creates a statewide firearm safe storage awareness initiative. The Senate’s bill passed on a party-line vote.
These are positive moves forward, to be sure. It’s just not the moves I want to see.
After all, North Carolina as a permit to purchase requirement for handguns. You can buy rifles of any kind without an issue, it seems, but not a handgun.
Again, this is a holdover from Jim Crow, but that’s the big hurdle in the state I’d like to see removed.
Gun rights groups are working on that, however.
As for these bills, well, they sure seem to be good steps forward. I’m willing to support any bill that moves the needle toward freedom, and both of these measures do just that. After all, people with concealed carry licenses aren’t the ones causing problems throughout the nation, so why not allow them to carry in such places?
“But why would they need a gun there?”
Well, they might not. But they may need one to and from such places. Restricting carry in a place actually restricts carry to and from such places to varying degrees. So doing away with prohibitions like they’re trying to do in North Carolina means ending those restrictions.
The state still has a long way to go, but the fact that both chambers passed separate bills that expand concealed carry in the state is a signal that there’s a good chance much of that distance can be closed in the near future.
Yeah, I know that the Democrats in the state still love their Jim Crow-era law, but it’s time to do like Elsa and let it go.