Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming… North Carolina?

Constitutional Carry may soon be coming to North Carolina. Long ridiculed by outsiders as the “Massachusetts of Dixie” because of our restrictive (by Southern standards) gun control laws, North Carolina is poised to take its place among the leaders in gun rights reform. Sources, which I can’t divulge, have made it clear that Constitutional Carry is on the radar. We can expect to see some concrete movement in the New Year.

While the Federal elections were disappointing for gun owners, North Carolina, coming off a historic Republican led redistricting plan, has turned the entire State government over to the Republican party for the first time ever. The 2010 elections gave control of both houses of the NC General Assembly to the Republicans who used the opportunity to reverse 100 years of Democrat drawn legislative districts. Couple that with a deeply unpopular Democrat Governor, so unpopular she chose not to run, and the 2012 elections have given us a new Republican Governor, and veto proof majorities in both houses of the NCGA.

Since gun rights reforms were traditionally blocked here in North Carolina by city dwelling Democrat legislators who occupied NCGA leadership positions, this means that the only truly anti-gun politicians left in North Carolina are no longer in a position to stop us. And with a Republican Governor, it’s now open season on some of our dumber gun laws.

Constitutional Carry (or Vermont Carry, if you prefer) would mean that it would no longer be a requirement for lawful residents to take training classes, pay outrageous sums of money, and beg permission from the Sheriff before exercising their right to carry a concealed weapon. Note that I said “weapon,” not “handgun.” Constitutional Carry would eliminate the entire “concealed weapon” law, 14-269. It would still be illegal for convicted felons to carry a firearm, but regular lawful residents would no longer have to apply for a permit to carry.

Still to be revealed is whether North Carolina will retain some sort of “tiered” concealed carry system. Will there be locations where a person who has a Concealed Handgun Permit will be able to carry, but a lawful non-permit holder will not? For example, will CHP holders be allowed to carry on school property while non-permit holders will not? Or will CHP holders have the exact same time, place, and manner restrictions that non-permit holders have? In this case, we would be adopting a system like in Alaska, where people only get CHPs so that when they travel to other states they can take advantage of reciprocity rules and carry there as well.

We’ve got a long way to go here in North Carolina, but getting Constitutional Carry would certainly ease the burden on lawful residents. I think it’s wrong to demand that people pay well over $150 for permits and training before they are granted permission to exercise their rights.

13 Responses to Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming… North Carolina?

  1. It’s good to see some progress in this area. While I teach firearms safety and the NC CCH qualification course – and recognize the value of this training to everyone that completes it, there are basic issues of constitutional rights at stake here. This is not like driving a car (which is a licensed privilege, not a right).

    I regularly receive “Carolina Alert” updates on violent crimes that are happening on or near our state’s university campuses. The establishment of protection free zones does a disservice to the students, staff and administration of these institutions.

    Likewise, the establishment of similar protection free zones by area businesses and municipalities create a practical gauntlet of conflicting geographies that interferes with concealed carry in North Carolina. It can be very difficult to carry legally and avoid inadvertently violating current state law.

    Criminals, of course, never worry about these issues. They just do what they want to, and plead away the consequences.

    Could a multi-level system work, where basic constitutional rights were recognized, and blanket geographic access covered by a CCH permit? So far, the evidence is that NC CCH holders are among the most reliable and law abiding citizens measured as a group. Concealed carry certainly has been proven to reduce violent crime.

    In any case, public policy in this area needs examination and today’s system needs expansion and revision.

    Whether required or optional in the future, CCH training at $150 would be a very wise investment when compared to the criminal liability and cost of defending yourself after making a handgun related mistake.

  2. Good questions. There could be a tiered system put into place, but in order for that to work, it would have to offer more than CHP holders can get now. I’m talking about things like Campus Carry. It would have to be good though. No one would accept a Constitutional Carry that was limited to your house, your land, and your friend’s house with written permission. In any case, an NC CHP will always be useful for reciprocity in other states. We have an extremely high training requirement which leads to our CHP being recognized in a lot of places.

    I have completed the training to be a CHP instructor. I’m waiting on the credentials still. It’s important that CHP instructors stand up and be counted on this very important issue of rights. CHP instructors need to be able to look past the possible loss of some income and be advocates for gun owner’s Constitutional Rights. I’m glad that you are one that will.

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  4. Here in NC, it appears that any such measure would require a constitutional amendment as it presently states:

    “Sec. 30. Militia and the right to bear arms.

    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.”

  5. The NC Constitution says that the NCGA may enact penal statutes against, not that it MUST do so.

    In practice, this only prevents the NC Supreme Court from saying that Section 30 means that the Concealed Weapon law is unconstitutional and overturning it. It does not otherwise affect the NCGA’s ability to not regulate something.

  6. I hope this comes to pass, but I’m less optimistic. After all, the NC House & Senate were both in GOP hands in the last sessions, and they lied to gun owners, saying that Restaurant Carry would go to the floor, and they bollixed up the parks carry, leaving ambiguities that encouraged some towns & cities to post in their parks (eg, Winston Salem.)

    I would be very, very happy to be wrong.

  7. The jerk who started the Park Carry mess got pilloried so badly that he decided not to return to the House. He took a Bev Perdue appointment and left.

    What I’m hearing on Restaurant Carry is that the State Republican Party got told by the National GOP not to pass Restaurant Carry last year. National didn’t want another issue in NC, a swing state, during the election. I am hearing that we will not have nearly the problem this year with this.

    You are right to be wary though. Politicians are slippery. We need to make sure that they understand what will happen to them if they screw us over again. Did you catch the GRNC alert crowing over the scalp they collected by not helping out Gaston Pridgeon

    “Notably, one Republican incumbent lost his reelection bid: Gaston Pridgeon (NCH046), who voted against gun owners in the last session of the General Assembly. Despite entreaties to mail for this RINO, GRNC-PVF not only refused the mailing, but also issued a recommendation that gun owners sit out the race. Pridgeon will not be missed.”
    They will remember that.

  8. Larry Cummings

    At least you guys get to carry in some fashion. I live in downstate Illinois and EVERYONE wants ccw but Cook County. Perhaps someday soon.

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  11. Matthew Carberry

    This is potentially huge.

    North Carolina has a larger population, based on my napkin calculation, than the other four Con Carry states put together and was considered in play for Obama. It won’t be so easily dismissed as small and irrelevent or “full of cowboys.”

  12. im a transplant from ohio. im proud to live in n.c.
    i think n.c. should push as hard as possible to ammend our constitution
    to have constitutional carry. we have the republican majority now and need to make good use of it while we can.

  13. wow…I’d be happy with restaurants and parking lots, CC would be a dream come true…depending on how they do it.

    I’ll just be hopefully optimistic.