North Carolina “Constitutional Carry” Bill Faces Uphill Battle

RALEIGH, N.C. (Sept. 29, 2017) – In June the North Carolina House passed a “Constitutional Carry” bill, but the Senate failed to pass as well. However, since the bill was not voted down in the 2nd chamber, it’s still alive for further consideration in 2018.

A coalition of four Republican representatives introduced House Bill 746 (H746) in April. Under the proposed law, any person who is a citizen of the United States and at least 18 years old would be able to legally carry a handgun, openly or concealed, without a concealed handgun permit in North Carolina unless provided otherwise by State law, by 18 U.S.C. § 922, or any other federal law.

The legislation does prohibit carrying a concealed handgun in certain places, including the state capitol building, courthouses, and certain other areas. It also establishes and clarifies other limits on carrying firearms in the state.

H746 would still allow North Carolina residents to obtain a conceal carry license so they can carry in states that have conceal carry reciprocity with North Carolina.

The bill passed the House by a 64-51 margin in June. However, once it reached the Senate it failed to get a vote either in the Committee On Rules and Operations, or on the Senate floor.

AmmoLand Editor Duncan Johnson places the blame for that on poor Senate leadership, rather than resistance to the general concept of the bill itself:

“The Senate, frankly, self-destructed on the bill. Without sufficient direction from leadership to chart its passage, Senate Republicans couldn’t agree on what they wanted it to contain – with a number of them wanting a stronger bill than passed by the House, calling for a pro-gun amendment to the North Carolina Constitution and repeal of the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit system. Others, including some devout conservatives, were hung up on the age 18 provision, or lack of required training.”

However, Duncan notes that although the Senate didn’t vote on the bill before the 2017 recess, it remains alive and up for consideration next year. North Carolina has a 2-year legislative session.

While constitutional carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere.

This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions like passage of H746 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

“Constitutional carry is a big step toward being able to exercise a natural right that has been infringed at all levels for far too long,” campaign lead Scott Landreth said.


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