NC Senate Judiciary Committee Considers Major Changes to Gun Laws
On Tuesday, the North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee considered three bills – Senate Bills 40, 41, and 67 – that would make major changes to the state’s gun laws. These bills, if passed, would repeal the pistol purchase permit requirement, allow people with concealed carry licenses to bring their weapons into houses of worship with schools on their property, and launch a two-year statewide firearm safe storage awareness initiative.
Senate Bill 40, the “Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal,” would remove the local sheriff’s office’s ability to decide who is allowed to buy a handgun, as well as the current law’s requirement that anyone buying a handgun must first obtain a permit from their local sheriff’s office, which includes a background check. This bill was passed in 2021, but vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper.
Senate Bill 41, titled the “Guarantee 2nd Amend Freedom and Protections,” would allow people in a church to carry a concealed gun during a worship service given certain conditions, such as the property being on private property, not during school hours, and no students present for activities. It would also allow handguns to be carried at places of worship that are also educational properties, as long as it is not owned by a local board of education or county commission.
Finally, Senate Bill 67 would launch a two-year statewide initiative to educate the public about the importance of safe storage of firearms. This bill was combined with the other two before being approved on Tuesday.
Opponents of the bills raised concerns about the removal of the permit system and its accompanying background checks, while proponents of the bills argued that the permit system is a relic of the Jim Crow-era, and that it continues to arbitrarily and unnecessarily infringe on Second Amendment rights.
Governor Roy Cooper is expected to veto any bills loosening gun restrictions, but this is the first time since 2018 that the Republican-led legislature has had a real chance to override his veto.
0. “Hours after Michigan shooting, North Carolina Republicans advance bills to loosen state gun laws” ncpolicywatch.com, 15 Feb. 2023, https://ncpolicywatch.com/2023/02/15/hours-after-michigan-shooting-north-carolina-republicans-advance-bills-to-loosen-state-gun-laws/
1. “North Carolina Senate passes bill to repeal pistol purchase permits” WECT, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.wect.com/2023/02/16/north-carolina-senate-passes-bill-repeal-pistol-purchase-permits
2. “NC Lawmakers Pass Several Gun Bills, One Involves Concealed Handguns At Churches” WCCB Charlotte, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.wccbcharlotte.com/2023/02/16/proposed-bill-could-eliminate-nc-sheriffs-from-pistol-purchase-permit-process/
3. “NC Senate committee considers three gun rights bills” Carolina Journal, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.carolinajournal.com/nc-senate-committee-considers-three-gun-rights-bills
4. “NC House approves concealed carry of guns in places of worship that double as schools” Raleigh News & Observer, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article272492025.html
5. “NC Republicans pushing for looser restrictions on pistol purchases, concealed carry” WCNC.com, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/politics/north-carolina-politics/north-carolina-republicans-gun-laws-pistol-purchase-permits-concealed-carry-new-legislation-roy-cooper/275-17205bc4-7b20-4c43-baf3-18b9d30dca71