While much of this legislative session has been about cutting — unemployment benefits, entitlement to federal Medicaid benefits, access to the polls, women’s health rights — here’s one area where lawmakers are feeling expansive: guns.
Gun purchases and requests for concealed carry permits are surging across the country, and here in North Carolina, an omnibus gun bill, H937, is lying in wait for final approval while tax and budget negotiations continue (unless it magically appears as an amendment elsewhere). Among other things, the bill eliminates the permit requirement when buying a handgun from private dealers — at gun shows, for example; increases the areas in which concealed carry holders can bring a gun to include parks and other recreational venues and allows them to keep the guns locked in their cars on public school property; and makes records of who has guns permits no longer open to the public.
Just in time to remind us that a gun bill is still lurking out there, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords will be in Raleigh with her husband ex-astronaut Mark Kelly on Sunday to promote a common sense approach to gun safety that they and their organization, American for Responsible Solutions, advocate — one that a majority of Americans, including residents here, likewise support. Numbers from Public Policy Polling in mid-June show that 66 percent of state residents oppose a bill that would allow guns on all educational properties and that would eliminate the requirement for permits for handguns.
Details for their appearance, part of their seven-state “Rights and Responsibilities Tour,” have not yet been released.