A trio of House lawmakers have revived the effort to allow North Carolinians to carry concealed handguns without a permit.

The provision is tucked into an omnibus gun bill filed February 12 in the General Assembly, called House Bill 61.

This provision has been a top priority of Second Amendment advocates for years. The term “constitutional carry” derives from that amendment and refers to the presumed right American citizens have to carry handguns, without needing the right given to them by law.

The idea is that carrying a firearm is a right bestowed by the constitution, not a privilege earned by doing X, Y and Z.

How the NC constitutional carry proposal works

Among other changes, the bill would allow North Carolinians to carry a handgun concealed on their person, provided that they have not been drinking alcohol and have a valid ID.

There are numerous restrictions on where people could carry concealed, including on private property where a sign is posted prohibiting concealed weapons. People could also not carry concealed in courthouses or on many picket lines.

The state would continue to issue concealed carry permits. People with these permits would be able to carry concealed in few more places, including establishments that serve alcoholic drinks. They would also then be able to carry concealed in states with permit reciprocity agreements with North Carolina.

This year’s version of the bill does not have an age requirement to carry a concealed handgun.

Past efforts to approve constitutional carry have failed in the Senate

The N.C. House most recently passed a constitutional carry bill in 2017, but it did not come up for a vote in the state Senate.

However, Second Amendment advocates said it’s not because the Senate doesn’t support the idea. The bill lacked buy-in from Senate leadership, and members couldn’t come to an agreement on what specifically the bill should contain. Some wanted a stronger pro-gun bill, while some wanted more restrictions.

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Cover image by Mitch Barrie via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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