The House is set to vote today on legislation that would weaken gun laws in North Carolina again by ending the requirement that people have to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
The permit process includes an application to the local sheriff’s office, which runs a background check and makes sure there are no documented mental health problems. Applicants must be at least 21 and also attend an eight-hour gun safety class.
Under the proposal before the House, the permit requirement would be abolished and the minimum age of people allowed to carry a hidden, loaded handgun would be lowered to 18.
But the best argument against allowing anyone 18 and older to carry a concealed weapon anywhere they want might be the promises from the pro-gun crowd a few years ago when they were pushing legislation to allow hidden handguns in bars and restaurants and playgrounds.
Here’s then Senator Thom Goolsby, now a member of the UNC Board of Governors, in a WRAL-TV story from the 2013 debate, defending expanding the number of places where concealed weapons were allowed.
In the Senate, backers of the bill said that the expansion of rights for concealed handgun permit holders was appropriate. Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, noted that those who obtain such permits go through extra training and background checks. “They’re the people we don’t have to worry about,” he said.
A story in the Indy Week a few months later about the efforts of Grass Roots North Carolina to convince bars to allow concealed weapons in their establishments quoted from a card the group was handing out.
You have nothing to fear from concealed handgun permit holders, who by virtue of training and background checks, have proven themselves sane, sober and law-abiding, the GRNC card reads.
Just four years ago, the pro-gun activists were reassuring everybody that it was safe to allow people to carry their hidden and loaded handguns everywhere because they were trained and had undergone thorough, local background checks as part of the permitting process.
Now those same pro-gun forces are demanding an end to that process and the very safeguards they promised it would provide.