On February 8 House Bill 69 was introduced in the NC General Assembly. This bill, if it passes, would allow concealed carry without a permit something commonly called Constitutional Carry. While I like the idea, the current permit process does one really good thing and it may not be what you think. Most would think it is the firearms safety training and qualification at the range and while those are good, they don’t guarantee anything. Someone could have the training and do well during the class and still have an accident or miss their target. What is ultimately beneficial from the course is the time spent covering the use of deadly force and the laws in NC. I am sure we have people come to NC under the reciprocity umbrella who do not have an understanding our our laws and the use of deadly force, but it is invaluable IMO. The current training mandates at least two hours be spent on the topic and when I instruct it is closer to three. I get more questions during this portion of the course than any other time and I am sure the class understands what is and is not allowed. What I cannot predict is how long they will retain the information. I see potential for problems with school situations. Our current law allows you to be in your vehicle with your firearm or to have it in a closed container while parked on school property. I can see someone who has not taken the class to believe they could carry it anywhere on school grounds. Another nuance is you cannot concealed carry in public if you have ANY amount of alcohol in your system. So if you have a single beer you must not concealed carry. Without the class someone would have to mine those nuggets out of the statutes and most residents have probably never read the statutes in the first place. It’s now an awful idea, and some states have it already, but I’m not on board at this time. In some states the permit process still exists so residents can get reciprocity to carry in other states. While that is good, it still doesn’t instruct on the laws of deadly force for those who have not gone through the permit process.

One final note. While I am a certified instructor with the NCDOJ, my teaching activities the last few years have barely covered expenses so I can honestly say my hesitation with this bill is not out of concern for reduced revenue from classes. It is out of concern for those who will inevitably and inadvertently break the law in NC and cast a shadow on all the law-abiding citizens.

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