North Carolina House passes concealed carry bill

A bill that would let adults in North Carolina carry concealed handguns without a permit and without training has cleared the House.

House leaders voted 64 to 51 Thursday afternoon in favor of House Bill 746.

The bill would allow anyone 18 or older to carry a concealed gun without a permit anywhere you could legally carry the gun openly.

Sheriff's offices could still give out concealed carry permits in some cases, for example, if you wanted to travel to other states with a concealed handgun.

"It's terrifying. As a mother of seven, and me just losing my 22-year-old son due to gun violence, it's just disturbing," Amber Vargas said.

Vargas and other members of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in American are pushing back against the bill.

Vargas' son was killed nine months ago. She says he was a victim of gun violence when he was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting.

"Even though HB746 is moving forward, we will not stop fighting," she said.

Other locals think the bill is a great idea.

"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 bill cleared the House vote mostly along party lines, but six Republicans voted "no," including Guilford County Rep. John Faircloth.

As a former police chief, he's worried the bill would add to gang violence and doesn't like the idea of troubled 18-year-olds carrying pistols.

That's one big sticking point for many locals.

"Our 18-year-olds are allowed to sign up for war, so why wouldn't they be allowed to carry a weapon?" Christina Whitman said.

"I think that's a little too young. I'm not sure if people have their head on straight," said Austin Pole.

Others are hung up on taking away the training and requirements that come with a concealed carry permit, which includes eight hours of classroom time, firing 30 rounds and a background check.

"There needs to be some kind of state mandated class," Whitman said. "I mean, who knows what you're learning? And who knows if it's correct or not?"

Many locals agree it will be tough to convince the "other side," because some people feel safe around guns and others just don't.

"Some people have particular bad views on guns," Pole said. "They think guns kill people but, you know, that's not the case."

"They're not seeing the other side of the fence," Vargas said. "They're just seeing what's out for them and not everybody else."

House Bill 746 will now head to the Senate. If it's approved there, it heads to the governor's desk.

Gov. Roy Cooper expressed his disdain for the bill in an interview with FOX8 earlier this week. If he vetoes the bill, it would head back to the General Assembly for a possible override vote.