A Dangerous Trend: North Carolina Considers Weaker Gun Laws
Growing evidence is proving what seems self-evident: Regulation of firearms saves lives. Stated another way, it’s becoming increasingly clear that looser gun regulations are associated with gun-related injuries and death.
Unfortunately, some states--like my beloved state of North Carolina—are moving in a more dangerous direction each year. For the third year in a row, a bill seeking to further weaken our gun regulations in North Carolina is moving through the General Assembly. As with the last two years, our legislators are seeking to expand the places where concealed weapons may be carried. Again, a new law restricts what local governments, law enforcement, business owners, and for the first time, doctors (!) are allowed to regulate or discuss guns as they work to prevent injury and death around them.
The bill also eliminates North Carolina’s background check system for handgun purchases, which include a criminal background check, despite the fact that 90% of North Carolinians support background checks.
House Bill 562 has had several iterations and may change again, but at present does the following:
- Eliminates NC’s state-level background check system for handgun purchase, which closes a federal loophole to prevent criminals and the severely mentally ill from purchasing handguns.
- Requires schools to allow concealed weapons permit holders to bring their guns onto school property, provided that they leave the weapon in a locked vehicle.
- Prohibits doctors and psychiatrists from asking patients in writing whether they own/have access to a gun. (Think screening and intake forms that you fill out when you’re at the doctor’s for something else.)
- Shortens the list of crimes that prohibit a citizen from owning a concealed weapon.
- It allows citizens to sue local governments that restrict any aspect of gun ownership or concealed carry.
- Regulates the size of “no weapons” signs a business/property owner must post, forcing them to post a very large sign if they wish to keep weapons out of their establishment.
- Allows silencers in hunting firearms.
In summary, this bill expands the list of places where concealed weapons owners, now more of whom will have a criminal record, can carry their weapons, and it attempts to silence anyone—doctors, mental health professionals, school systems, business and property owners, even the legal system—questioning whether a particular gun owner should have access to a gun in the first place. More guns, more ownership, but less regulation of gun owners. Guns will be in the hands of more law-breakers, but the ability of medical and mental health providers to screen for violent behavior is being undercut. Putting roadblocks for doctors determining the safety of their patients’ homes puts children's lives and safety at huge risk. As a mother of two, this bill and our legislative trajectory make me feel less safe about my own community.
A clear pattern is emerging: allowing more guns everywhere, carried by people (some of them NOT law-abiding) who cannot be questioned about their guns until it is too late. Furthermore, our state government is disempowering NC’s business owners, local governments, and its own people from deciding what happens in their communities and on their own property.
And we can see where this is headed: the 2013 law required restaurant/bar owners to post signs; this bill dictates how big those signs must be. Previously, areas where gun owners could carry were vastly expanded; this law are expanding WHO can carry, to include more law-breakers.
The NC House will likely vote on the bill this week. We can’t stand by and let this happen. Can you help us keep the pressure on by calling Speaker Tim Moore and other House leaders right now? Call (toll-free) - 844-636-3478 now to get started.
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