By Christy Clark
I’ve been volunteering in North Carolina with Moms Demand Action for Gun in Sense in America since a few days after the shooting in Sandy Hook. As a mom of three and stepmom of two, I was moved to take action when six educators and 20 first-graders were taken by gun violence.
In the years since Sandy Hook, I’ve learned more about gun laws and their impact—both good and bad—in North Carolina. I’ve also come to expect that every year when the General Assembly is in session, the gun lobby will attempt to push through dangerous legislation to make it easier for criminals, domestic abusers and the mentally ill to have access to guns. In fact, this year there were more than 30 bills introduced in the House that were designed to weaken North Carolina’s gun laws.
Particularly alarming is the proposed legislation—HB 746 Omnibus Gun Changes (Permitless Carry)—currently in the Senate. While the title of the bill seems innocuous, the implications of the bill are dangerous to the public safety of our communities. This bill would dismantle North Carolina’s concealed carry permitting system—making it one of the only states in the country where it is legal to carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit.
This dangerous legislation would also eliminate North Carolina’s current firearm training requirement and also allow people as young as 18 to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public places. North Carolina law currently requires a person to complete firearms safety training,
including live-fire training, in order to carry a concealed handgun in public. HB 746 would lower the minimum age to 18, even though 18 to 20 year olds commit gun homicides at a rate nearly four times higher than adults 21 and over.
Lastly, it would make it easy for violent criminals and stalkers to carry a loaded, hidden handgun in public in North Carolina. In place of a permit, this bill would create an honor system for carrying a concealed handgun in public in North Carolina, making it nearly impossible for law enforcement to verify whether a person carrying a handgun in public is a criminal.
Moms Demand Action, along with our coalition partners, are actively opposing this dangerous legislation. You’ll see us in our red Moms Demand Action T-shirts gracing the halls of the General Assembly, allowing our opposition to this bill to be known in the most friendly and kind way possible. We are moms, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers who worry for the safety of our families.
It’s important to note that we are a bi-partisan organization that supports the 2nd Amendment and responsible gun ownership. As we saw last week with the Alexandria shooting, gun violence is not a partisan issue. Yet, we face opposition from organizations such as Grass Roots North Carolina and the North Carolina Firearms Coalition. These
organizations have taken radical measures to intimidate us and our allies by posting names, phone numbers and home addresses of lobbyists who support our work. They even take photos from our public Facebook pages and use them to degrade and mock our valued volunteers. While these tactics are below the belt, we will not back down. The safety of our children and our communities is at stake.
We need to continue to let our representatives know this bill is unacceptable. By texting NORTH CAROLINA to 644-33, you can be connected to lawmakers in the Senate. Ask our lawmakers to oppose to HB746 Permitless Carry and uphold the longstanding concealed carry permit process that is a core principle of our state’s public safety. If you want to do more, please join us at momsdemandaction.org. We have local groups from the mountains to the beaches. We need your voice to help us continue to apply pressure that will result in stronger, sensible gun laws and policies that will protect our children and families.