House Bill 61 – Omnibus Gun Changes – was introduced into the North Carolina House of Representatives yesterday. The primary sponsors of the bill are Rep. Larry Pittman (R- Cabarrus and Rowan), Rep. Larry Potts (R- Davidson), and Rep. Keith Kidwell (R- Beaufort and Craven).
The most salient thing this bill does is to reintroduce permitless concealed carry into North Carolina. As open carry of firearms is a constitutional right in the state, this bill would extend it to concealed carry of firearms. Concealed Handgun Permits would still be available and the bill has language that encourages people to obtain them if they plan to travel out of state or want to facilitate the purchase of a firearm.
The bill would also make it an infraction as opposed to a misdemeanor to carry concealed on posted private property. It would remain a misdemeanor to carry while one has alcohol or a controlled substance in his or her bloodstream. Exceptions are made for controlled substances that have been prescribed and are being taken in therapeutic amounts.
Much of the bill just reiterates where one can or cannot carry a firearm such as courthouses, the grounds of the Legislative Buildings, or the Executive Mansion. It goes on to state that one can carry open or concealed at state rest stops and state parks.
Finally, the bill orders the State Board of Education to develop an elective course on comprehensive firearms safety in consultation with law enforcement agencies and “firearms associations”. This course would be an elective to facilitate the learning of STEM principles. The bill also orders the State Board of Election to develop another elective course on wildlife conservation based upon the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Consultation for the course development would be with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the Division of Marine Fisheries, and the Wildlife Management Institute.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
H. 61 is similar to H. 746 which was the last sessions’ bill that authorized permitless carry. As you may remember, it passed the House in 2017 but stalled in the State Senate when the spineless Republican leadership failed to even schedule hearings of the bill. Ostensibly the Republicans wanted to preserve their super-majority. Given the 2018 election results, that was a failure on their part as they lost their super-majority anyway.