House bill would allow concealed guns without permit in North Carolina

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- A bill moving through the North Carolina House would eliminate the need for a concealed carry permit in most cases. House Bill 746 passed the House Committee on Finance this week.

The bill would allow people to carry a concealed handgun in places where you can legally carry one openly. But people are split on whether eliminating the steps to get the permit is the right way to go.

"I still feel in this state I live in, I should be able to go anywhere in the state and carry my pistol without worry of repercussions," said John Allred, who carries a concealed pistol.

"The Second Amendment's good," said Sandy Browders, with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. He and several others attended the House hearing this week. "I understand that. I follow it, but you also have the right to know if somebody's carrying a gun."

Qualifying for a CCP includes passing an eight-hour class, which ends with shooting 30 rounds. It teaches gun safety and handling and state law on using deadly force.

"I've been doing it 45 years, and you got to go to the school," Davidson County Sheriff David Grice said. "I mean, I don't care how much you've shot or how old you are or how much you've heard it. You just go in there and keep your mouth shut and go through the school."

You could also buy a pistol at 18 years old. Right now, you must be 21 to buy a pistol or qualify for a CCP. Eighteen-year-olds can buy shotguns in North Carolina.

Grice says he supports that aspect of the bill.

"Those are the very people that we try to enlist in our military service," he said.

But Grice says he's worried it means people with little or no knowledge of guns could carry them without anyone knowing.

"It's their right, and we want to support good people to have their right, if they want to own a firearm, to do it, but we want to do it in the right way," he said.

"I think this is the step in the right direction, for just an ordinary citizen like myself that wants to protect his family," Allred said.

Sheriff's offices could still give out concealed carry permits in some cases. For example, the new bill would likely eliminate the reciprocity North Carolina's CCP had with other states.

Residents wanting to travel to other states would still need to qualify for a CCP, but the fee would cost more, and the information provided to sheriff's offices for a background check would be limited.

The bill must first pass the House, Senate and be signed by the governor before it becomes a law.