Gun Bill Moves Forward But Final Approval Remains Unclear
The House passed a controversial gun bill this week, but it's not clear the measure has enough support to become law.The measure would do away with the state's conceal carry permit requirement and lower the age to legally carry a concealed handgun from 21 to 18.
Even if the measure passes the Senate, the chambers will need veto-proof majorities to override Governor Roy Cooper's likely veto. Right now the House doesn't have one. Six Republicans voted against the measure, including Henderson Republican Chuck McGrady.
"I'm listening to law enforcement officials,” he said. “The police chiefs, the fraternal order of police I believe have both come out against the bill."
McGrady said if the bill comes back for a veto override, he might give it a green light if it includes changes supported by law enforcement.
Under the bill, gun owners would still need a permit to purchase a gun, but they would not need a conceal-carry permit to bring a hidden gun into places where open carry is already allowed. It would also allow people as young as 18 to carry a concealed handgun. The state sheriff's association opposes the legislation.
Opponents of the bill include law enforcement officials and representatives from both parties. Much of the concern comes from the provision that would allow someone as young as 18 to carry a concealed gun without a permit--and without the training required under current law.
House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson argued this week the issue is gun safety, not gun control.
But Republican and bill sponsor Chris Millis tried to persuade his colleagues the bill wouldn't change that much.
"This bill will only allow law-abiding citizens to be able to carry concealed only in places where it is currently allowable to openly carry a firearm," Millis said.