On January 3, 2017 US Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Charlotte area) proposed a “gun rights expansion” bill, so to speak (HR 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill of 2017). HR 38, not Hudson’s first such bill, is strongly supported by the NRA. To summarize the bill, his website asks, “Your driver’s license works in every state, why not your concealed carry permit?” It’s designed as a matter of convenience for gun owners. However, we know the difference between guns and cars and there are elements in this national proposal that could endanger North Carolinians.
To provide background, all 50 states allow concealed carry, but currently 10 have enacted permitless (constitutional) concealed carry laws. NC regulates concealed carry permits, requiring training and rejecting applicants with impaired mental capacity or illness, certain criminal convictions and other criteria. This Federal law, if passed, would allow anyone with a concealed weapon, permitted or not, to travel across state lines, regardless of a state’s gun laws (because Federal law supersedes state law). The bill also aims to allow concealed guns in all national parks (like Great Smoky National Park and Cape Hatteras) and in our schools, as carriers would not be subject to the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990. Additionally, “Hudson supports language that would allow gun owners to sue municipalities, police forces, or individuals (i.e. business owners) who seek to prohibit a concealed gun.” (The Trace, Dan Friedman, January 6, 2017)
I am not opposed to guns, as my family, including sons raised with the knowledge of secured guns in our home, likes to hunt, use the meat for food, and be together on hunting trips (I choose to stay home). But if passed, this bill could compromise the lives of many innocent North Carolinians. The 2nd Amendment is not in danger if this bill does not pass, but last year’s reciprocity bill by Rep. Hudson was also opposed by many law enforcement agencies that see increased danger in a reciprocity bill. It failed. Please speak out against HR 38 while you can.
Rane Winslow, MPH, Maternal/Child Health