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Senate Passes Handgun Bill

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt
N.C. General Assembly

State senators have passed a measure that would do away with handgun permits and add more places people can carry or store firearms.

Republican backers say House Bill 937 protects Second Amendment rights and increases penalties for concealed carry weapon permit owners who drink and carry their guns. The measure allows handgun owners to bring their weapons into bars and other establishments that serve alcohol, as long as proprietors allow it. Democratic Senator Ellie Kinnaird expressed skepticism about the bill on the Senate floor yesterday.

"We heard that law-abiding, god-fearing, upright citizens who're permitted to carry concealed weapons can be trusted where alcohol is concerned, presumably because they are good citizens," said Kinnaird.

But Kinnaird went on to cite an investigative study finding that 900 concealed carry permit holders had been convicted of drinking under the influence over a five-year period.

The bill would also allow handgun owners to carry their weapons on all educational property. State Attorney General Roy Cooper opposes the measure, saying requiring handgun owners to procure licenses is a good safeguard.

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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