HB 746, on its way to the N.C. Senate after narrowly passing in the N.C. House, would dismantle pistol permitting in North Carolina, removing the role of sheriffs in protecting us from teenagers, felons and those with serious mental illness who would carry loaded weapons into places frequented by children and families such as restaurants and playgrounds.
Reasonable limits on access to deadly weapons is a public health intervention. Like seat belts and fire codes, reasonable safety regulations save lives. Instead, HB 746 would eliminate current requirements for safety training and would put concealed weapons into the hands of teenagers, even though 18-to-20 year-olds commit gun homicides at a rate nearly four times higher than adults 21 and over. Incredibly, the law would leave the weapons carriers themselves to police their own behavior, making it nearly impossible for law enforcement to verify whether a person carrying a handgun in public has a criminal or violent history.
After Missouri repealed its requirement that all handgun purchasers have a background check, firearm homicides went up 25 percent, according to a Johns Hopkins study. On the other hand, when Connecticut passed its license to carry requirement, including background checks by the police, a training requirement, and raising the legal age of purchase from 18 to 21, firearm homicides declined 40 percent. The majority of North Carolinians support common sense gun safety regulations. So should the NC Senate.