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Our View: Keep permits for concealed weapons

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Rocky Mount Telegram

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Leg­is­la­tion re­cently ap­proved by the N.C. House that would end the re­quire­ment for peo­ple to ob­tain a per­mit to carry a con­cealed weapon in North Carolina is a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem that doesn’t ex­ist.

The mea­sure would elim­i­nate the train­ing and per­mit­ting cur­rently re­quired for peo­ple 21 and older to carry a con­cealed weapon and lower the age to 18 for any U.S. cit­i­zen who wants to carry a con­cealed weapon with­out a per­mit any­where he or she can carry it openly, ex­cept where pro­hib­ited.

Sup­port­ers of the bill say the bill will “ex­pand the op­por­tu­ni­ties for law-abid­ing cit­i­zens to be able to bet­ter pro­tect them­selves and their loved ones from harm,” ac­cord­ing to bill spon­sor N.C. Rep. Chris Mil­lis, R-Pen­der.

Op­po­si­tion to the mea­sure ex­tends well be­yond gun-con­trol ad­vo­cacy groups. The N.C. Po­lice Chiefs As­so­ci­a­tion, N.C. Fra­ter­nal Order of Po­lice and mem­bers of the state’s law en­force­ment com­mu­nity — in­clud­ing many po­lice chiefs and county sher­iffs — also op­pose the mea­sure.

N.C. Rep. John Fair­cloth, R- Guil­ford, a for­mer lo­cal po­lice chief, was one of eight House Repub­li­cans who voted against the mea­sure. He ex­pressed se­ri­ous reser­va­tions about re­mov­ing the train­ing re­quire­ment for peo­ple who carry con­cealed weapons.

Concealed carry permits are issued through county sheriff's offices, which conduct criminal background checks and look for records of mental illness or incapacity. Applicants must show they have passed an eight-hour gun safety class.

The Telegram is a strong supporter of Americans’ 2nd Amendment right to own firearms. But the current conceal-carry law doesn’t restrict anybody’s right to keep and bear arms. It’s a common-sense public safety measure to ensure that those who carry concealed weapons have been taught when and how to properly and legally use them.

The legislation was approved by a 65-54 vote in the House — seven votes short of the number needed to override a gubernatorial veto.

If the Senate follows suit and approves the measure — and we strongly urge them not to — then Gov. Roy Cooper should certainly veto it.

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