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Concealed carry permit bill sails through Finance Committee on way to House vote

After a debate in the House Judiciary IV committee yesterday, House Bill 746 – which would eliminate the need for a permit to carry a concealed handgun in most circumstances – passed the House Finance committee this morning on its way to a full House vote.

Some Democratic representatives objected to giving the bill a favorable report without more information on how it might impact the budget or sheriff’s departments, which issue – and charge for – concealed carry permits.

“This is the Finance committee,” said Rep. Deb Butler (D-Brunswick). ” We’re here to talk about how much things cost and revenues and we don’t have any of that information. Unless and until that data is before us, what is the purpose of the Finance committee?”

But Republican members of the committee were united in wanting the bill to move forward, dismissing those concerns as something that could be ironed out later.

Opposition to the bill from citizens continued to grow Wednesday, with several lawmakers saying they’ve received phone calls and e-mails. The bill would make it legal for anyone who can legally carry a gun openly to carry it concealed – starting at 18. If passed into law, it would make North Carolina to extend such a measure to include teenagers.

The bill was thought dead earlier this year when it didn’t make crossover – the period by which bills need to have passed one legislative chamber and move on to another. But revisions to the bill kept it active and a rewritten version was presented to lawmakers early this week.

Similar bills have been filed every session since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011, but none have passed. Other bills that relaxed gun regulation have passed and proponents are calling HB 746 a natural evolution of those efforts.

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