Opinion: CJ Opinion

How far will North Carolina fall behind on gun rights?

A woman safely praqctices shooting a pistol at a range in north Idaho.
A woman safely praqctices shooting a pistol at a range in north Idaho.

In the forthcoming print edition of Carolina Journal, I make the case that the General Assembly should expand Second Amendment protections in North Carolina. I won’t give the entire piece away, but N.C. is no longer a top state for gun rights. Unlike many states with Republican-controlled legislatures, the Jim Crow-era pistol permit process still remains here, and North Carolina hasn’t passed constitutional carry. Constitutional carry simply allows for the open or concealed carry of a handgun without a state-issued permit. Those that exercise that right still have to pass federal background checks to purchase a firearm and follow all applicable state and federal laws.

Missouri and West Virginia overrode vetoes from Democrat governors within the past five years to become constitutional carry states. Outside of North Carolina and certainly Virginia (which has gone backward), the Southeast has been particularly aggressive in expanding an inherent right. Guns & Ammo magazine ranked North Carolina 32nd in the nation for its Second Amendment protections. Obviously, this isn’t even in the top half of states.

According to ABC News, Montana, Tennessee, and Utah are now on the verge of passing constitutional carry. Sixteen states already allow for carrying concealed without a special permit.

This quote from ABC News piece highlights the fact the legislation simply benefits those that already follow the law, not the criminals:

“I have that right to protect myself, the Constitution says we have the right. Why are we putting a barrier for law-abiding citizens?” said Rep. Walt Brooks, the Republican lawmaker sponsoring the bill that got an early nod of approval from a House committee Friday. The software company president has represented rural southern Utah for about four years.

The ABC News article also mentions a 2018 report that relaxing concealed-carry laws showed no uptick in murders or violent crime. Getting rid of the county pistol permit process that has a well-documented racist history should be the first step by the General Assembly.

North Carolinians need to continually ask their lawmakers why other states are passing them on the Second Amendment and why those residents are more deserving of an inherent right?