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Concealed-carry gun permits remain for now as NC legislature shelves bill

Megathon Charlie via Flickr, Creative Commons

Legislative leaders say they won’t take action to repeal North Carolina’s concealed-carry permit requirements.

A House bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed handguns without a permit passed two committees in the past week. But it was later removed from the House’s floor calendar without a vote.

House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday that some Republican lawmakers were opposed to the change. The state sheriffs’ association also spoke out against the bill. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, agreed to drop the proposal for now.

“There was some difference of opinion within the caucus on it, and the reality is, before that bill could become law, you would need to have all 72 votes,” he said. “I didn’t count 72 votes there, and Rep. Kidwell concurred.”

Moore was referring to the likelihood that Gov. Roy Cooper would veto the bill, meaning that all Republican House members would need to be willing to vote for an override.

Senate leader Phil Berger also told reporters that he didn’t think his chamber would take up the bill. Moore and Berger said they were satisfied with recent action to repeal permit requirements to buy a handgun. That bill became law after lawmakers voted to override a veto from Cooper.

“We’ve done away with the pistol purchase permit, which was the number-one goal of many of the gun rights groups for a long period of time,” Berger told reporters. “I just don’t know if there’s a need for us to delve into additional issues dealing with guns.”

Moore cited Berger’s position as another reason the House decided not to move forward with the bill. The move marks a rare victory for opponents of looser gun laws in a GOP-controlled legislature.

The gun-rights advocacy group Grass Roots North Carolina isn’t giving up on the concealed-carry repeal. It’s continuing to promote a petition calling on lawmakers to pass the measure. It argues that North Carolina is in a “disadvantaged minority” among states because 27 others don’t have concealed-carry permits.

The latest version of the bill would keep education requirements for gun owners who want to carry a concealed weapon, but without a permit process, law-enforcement agencies worry they wouldn’t know who was legally carrying a gun.

Copyright 2023 North Carolina Public Radio. To see more, visit North Carolina Public Radio.

Colin Campbell