New firearms laws recently passed
North Carolina instituted a Concealed Carry permit system in 1995. Since that time, thousands of individuals have obtained Concealed Carry permits and most of those carry every day. While there are no official reports or data, the sheer numbers indicate there are several concealed carry civilians for every sworn law officer in most states. In spite of this, the rate of concealed carry permit holders has been exemplary. It is a fact that civilians with concealed carry permits are less likely to wrongly shoot than sworn law enforcement officers.
In the last few years, the interest in firearms ownership has skyrocketed. Gun sales in the last ten years have doubled. During this resurgence of firearms ownership, Concealed Carry permits have also been issued at unprecedented numbers. As a concealed carry instructor, I’ve noticed a shift in the demographics of the people who go through my classes. When Cherie and I began teaching the North Carolina Concealed Carry Certification Class, most of our students were confirmed gun people who for one reason or another decided to get a CCH permit. Now, the people who take the class are folks with little or no firearms history. We now have more women than men in most of our classes. At the beginning of each class, I ask for a show of hands to see how many of our students have extensive firearms experience. Now, only a small percentage have more than scant experience with guns. Before you become alarmed that we’re about to revisit the days of Dodge City when gunfights were common, think again.
While there more people legally carrying guns in the United States than have ever been recorded and gun sales have doubled, violent crime, and almost every other category as well, has decreased by well over 50%. Time Magazine reports that firearms owners successfully defend themselves 180,000 times every year. Concealed Carry has been a huge success with every state that’s enacted a Concealed Carry law experiencing a reduction in violent crime.
Effective the beginning of October, several new laws will go into effect that represent major changes for gun owners. Probably the most broad sweeping firearms legislation in 50 years, the new legislation will benefit all North Carolina Concealed Carry permit holders and even affect some hunting opportunities. In the last year, there has been a lot of focus on gun laws and I’m happy to see that our lawmakers have used a reasonable approach and haven’t gotten caught up in some of the anti-firearms sentiment.
The new law, H 937, will improve the reporting process of the records of individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as well as streamlining the permit issuing process. Within the last couple of years, the NC Department of Justice has instituted policies to make sure Concealed Carry classes are properly taught and implemented. There have been some arrests and revocation of permits in cases where the DOJs procedures were not followed.
The new law also establishes a revocation requirement for individuals issued a permit who later become prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm and safeguards the confidentiality of individuals applying for a handgun purchase permit and of Concealed Carry Permit holders. Another feature of H937 is that it brings North Carolina in compliance with the standards set forth in the federal NICS Improvement Amendments Act (NIAA) of 2007—a critical mental health reform that might have stopped the Virgina Tech shooter from his illegal purchase of a handgun.
Other changes in H 937 specifically address those who have a North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit. The new law now allows Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) holders to lawfully carry their personal protection firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, provided they do not consume alcohol. It removes the prohibition on CHP holders from carrying into a place where tickets are sold for admission. It also fixes the problem of anti-gun localities overstepping their authority regarding restricting CHP holders from carrying firearms into locally controlled parks. The new law also allows CHP holders to transport their personal protection handguns in their motor vehicle while on all school property, as well as allow them to store those handguns in their locked vehicles while parked on school property and it removes the prohibition on CHP holders carrying their personal protection firearms during a parade or funeral.
While North Carolina has passed a new comprehensive gun law, I’m proud of our legislators passing legislation that actually makes our citizens safer rather than jumping on the bandwagon of fright and panic and passing laws that have little or no real benefit. Those states and cities with the most restrictive gun laws also have the worst crime rates, not because they have gun problems, but because they have social problems.
Our new laws truly make citizens safer by making sure we do all we can to make sure people who shouldn’t have a gun don’t get one, and empowering our law abiding citizens with the ability to defend themselves against crime.
To see the actual bill and what it entails, you can find it online here: http://ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2013/Bills/House/PDF/H937v5.pdf
Dick Jones is an award winning freelance writer living in High Point. He’s a member of the board of directors of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. He writes about hunting, fishing, dogs, and shooting for several NC newspapers as well as national magazines. He’s an NRA Certified Instructor, a Distinguished Rifleman, former High Master, and teaches shotgun, rifle, and pistol as well as the North Carolina Concealed Carry Certification and Hunter Safety at Lewis Creek Shooting School. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or offtheporchmedia.com