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House Lawmakers Tentatively Approve Relaxing Gun Laws

NC House
Jessica Jones

State house lawmakers have given tentative approval to a bill that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses, at sporting events and in businesses serving alcohol, among other places.

House Bill 937 would also stiffen penalties for crimes committed with firearms. Republican sponsor Justin Burr says the measure would not allow people to carry weapons in college classrooms, but concealed permit holders would be allowed to store guns in locked cars on campuses.

"It's my opinion and I believe the opinion of a lot of North Carolinians that students, parents and faculty have the right to protect themselves when they're in a campus parking lot, when they are commuting back and forth from home to school, from home to work, or from their parking lots to their jobs," says Burr.

The bill is opposed by leaders of the University of North Carolina. Most Democrats oppose the measure.

"This is not something that makes this state a better place," says Democratic Representative Deborah Ross of Raleigh.

"It's something that puts us on Stephen Colbert. And we've been on Colbert a little bit too much lately."

A vote on the bill is expected Tuesday.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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