Opposition to HB 499

HB499: SEVERELY WEAKENS THE CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT SYSTEM AND SAFETY RULES REGARDING WHERE HIDDEN HANDGUNS CAN BE CARRIED

House Bill 499 would bring about dangerous, sweeping changes to North Carolina’s handgun statutes. The bill says that you no longer need a permit to carry a hidden handgun, essentially meaning that people as young as 18 years old - even without proper training and a background check - could carry a hidden handgun in public places; it calls for a Constitutional Amendment that would weaken the Legislature’s ability to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons, if approved by voters; and allows lawmakers to carry hidden handguns in the General Assembly.

PERMITLESS CARRY IS DANGEROUS WITH HARMFUL RIPPLE EFFECTS

  • After Missouri enacted a permitless carry law in January 2017, the rate of aggravated gun assaults in St. Louis increased by 25% over 2016. [1] That amounted to 484 more gun-related aggravated assaults in 2017.[2]
  • 88% of Americans believe that a permit should be required to be able to carry a concealed handgun in public.[3]
  • 24 states, including North Carolina, currently require live-fire training before an individual qualifies for a concealed carry permit.[4] With permitless carry, untrained individuals could carry a hidden and loaded weapon in public.
  • The most comprehensive and rigorous study of concealed carry laws found that in states with weak permitting laws, violent crime rates were 13% to 15% higher than predicted had such laws not been in place.[5]

HB499 WOULD ALLOW APPROVED SCHOOL FACULTY AND STAFF TO CARRY CONCEALED HANDGUNS AT SCHOOL

  • Volunteer school faculty guardians are school employees that can carry concealed anytime during the conduct of their duties. They need to have 16 hours of training, have a valid concealed carry permit and submit to a drug test.
  • Armed adults have a history of mistakenly discharging their weapons on school grounds - there have been over 70 publicly reported cases in the last 5 years alone (including among school resource officers).[6] Allowing approved volunteers to carry in schools would be dangerous to both students and law enforcement alike.[7]
  • Schools are places of learning. Arming educators could create a chilling effect in a school environment, replacing a student’s trust in an educator with anxiety and fear.
  • Increased availability of firearms puts everyone at a higher risk for firearm homicides.[8]
  • Research has shown that increased gun access and gun possession are not associated with protection from violence.[9]
  • Law enforcement officers do not always respond adequately in high-stress shooting incidents[10] and they are trained professionals. It is folly to expect better from approved volunteers with very little training compared to these professionals.
  • Arming teachers and other school personnel is likely to result in even more shootings at schools, both intentional and accidental. Teachers attempting to take down an active shooter can harm bystanders and lead to casualties among police officers.[11]
  • School shootings, while horrific, are rare events.[12]
  • In an active shooter situation, responding law enforcement may not be able to determine who is the school shooter and who is the approved volunteer school faculty guardian.

 

[1] Report: CRM0013-BY: Part 1 Crime Comparison Based on UCR Reporting Neighborhood Report. City of St. Louis, MO: Metropolitan Police Department. January 6, 2017. https://bit.ly/1kzVFQP Rates were calculated using population data from the United States Census Bureau by Everytown for Gun Safety, and presented at https://everytownresearch.org/permitless-carry/

[2] Report: CRM0013-BY: Part 1 Crime Comparison Based on UCR Reporting Neighborhood Report. City of St. Louis, MO: Metropolitan Police Department. January 8, 2018. https://bit.ly/2HDE8tA. Rates were calculated using population data from the United States Census Bureau for Gun Safety, and presented at https://everytownresearch.org/permitless-carry/

[3] Strategies 360 Survey, March 2015.

[4] Jennifer Mascia. 26 States Will Let You Carry a Concealed Gun Without Making Sure You Know How to Shoot One. The Trace. April 17, 2017. https://www.thetrace.org/2016/02/live-fire-training-not-mandatory-concealed-carry-permits/

[5] John J. Donohue, Abhay Aneja, and Kyle D. Weber, “Right‐to‐Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State‐Level Synthetic Control Analysis,” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 16, no. 2 (2019): 198–247

[6] Drane K. “Every Incident of Mishandled Guns in Schools”.  June 1, 2019. Giffords Law Center Blog https://giffords.org/2019/06/every-incident-of-mishandled-guns-in-schools/

[7] Schrott M. Officer Accidentally discharges weapon at George Washington Middle School. Alexandria Times. March, 13, 2018.

[8] Hepburn, Lisa; Hemenway, David. Firearm availability and homicide: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal. 2004; 9:417-40.

[9] Branas CC, Richmond TS, Culhane DP, Ten Have TR, Wiebe DJ. Investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault. American Journal of Public Health. 2009; 99(11): 2034–2040.

[10] Blair, et al., 2011.

[11] Blair, J. Pete, and Schweit, Katherine W. (2014). A Study of Active Shooter Incidents, 2000 - 2013. Texas State University and Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C. 2014.

[12]  Fox, JA and Fridel, EE. The Menace of School Shootings in America. In: Shapiro H (Editor). The Wiley Handbook on Violence in Education: Forms, Factors, and Preventions. John Wiley & Sons, Inc; 2018. 15-36.