RALEIGH, N.C. — A bill that would allow people to carry concealed guns without a permit in North Carolina, which was poised to move forward in the General Assembly this week, appears to have stalled for now.
House Bill 189, which would allow anyone age 18 or over to carry a concealed handgun without first obtaining a permit from their local sheriff’s office, cleared two committees in recent days and had been added to a calendar of more than 50 bills the House was taking up in a marathon session Wednesday evening.
If passed by the House, the bill would have moved on to the Senate in time for Thursday’s crossover deadline for bills to pass through one chamber in order to be taken up by the other chamber later.
During Wednesday’s session, however, House Speaker Tim Moore said he was taking the bill off the calendar and sending it back to the House Rules Committee.
The top Republican in the Senate also said on Wednesday that he didn’t believe lawmakers needed to take up another gun rights bill right now, in light of the legislature’s successful repeal in March of the state’s permit law for buying handguns.
“We have passed a substantial bill dealing with some concerns about (the) Second Amendment. We’ve done away with the pistol purchase permit, which was the No. 1 goal of many of the gun rights groups for a long period of time,” Senate leader Phil Berger told reporters. “I just don’t know if if there’s a need for us to delve into additional issues dealing with guns and people’s Second Amendment rights.”
Asked about making the concealed carry permit optional, Berger told reporters: “I think people have a constitutional right to protect themselves, utilizing weapons. I think that law-abiding citizens can be trusted to handle those rights responsibly. I just don’t know that the timing is right for us, at this time, to move forward with additional gun legislation.”
Grass Roots North Carolina, a gun rights group that was one of the bill’s chief supporters, had strongly urged GOP leaders to take it up this week. The group’s president, Paul Valone, said he would continue to work on trying to get the bill passed this session.
Valone indicated that the National Rifle Association had concerns about education requirements that had been added to the bill on Tuesday while it was considered by a House committee.
“We are disappointed that the NRA, which has been largely absent in this session of the General Assembly, swooped in at the last minute and declared the bill unacceptable, due to the training provision we had added,” Valone said. “We are continuing to work on the bill, it is still alive, and we are by no means done.”
D.J. Spiker, the NRA’s North Carolina state director, said in response that the NRA “will never apologize for refusing to compromise on an issue as critical as Constitutional Carry.”
©2023 The News & Observer. Visit at newsobserver.com. Distributed at Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Copyright 2023 Tribune Content Agency.