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NC House approves bill to loosen gun restrictions

From staff and wire reports

A bill that would allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in certain places has received tentative approval in the state House.

After more than an hour of debate, lawmakers voted 65-54 Wednesday in favor of the proposal, known as HB 746. It would make the permit no longer necessary only in locations where it’s currently permissible to openly carry a handgun. Gun purchases would still require a permit.

The latest measure features certain restrictions and applies to people 18 or older and those who are not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm.

Supporters argue that the bill would equalize concealed carry-open carry laws in the state, while opponents continue to raise concerns about safety and gun violence.

Both of Rowan County’s state representatives — Harry Warren, R-77, and Carl Ford, R-76 — voted in favor of the measure. Ford was also a co-sponsor. He said the bill has been radically changed since he first signed on as a co-sponsor, but he still supports it.

“It’s important to make it easier for law-abiding citizens to have their Second Amendment rights without overregulation,” Ford said.

Ford said the gun bill is important because the Second Amendment provides the constitutional right for people to carry a gun.

“I think it’s important for those law-abiding citizens to be able to protect themselves and families without government interference,” he said.

Ford said he hopes a similar bill supported by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, is passed in Congress to apply nationwide.

In addition to Ford, Rowan County voters may recognize one of the primary sponsors of the bill. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-82, is the second primary sponsor. Pittman’s district is in Cabarrus County.

N.C. House members are expected to cast a final vote on the bill today. If the House approves the bill, it will head to the state Senate before going to Gov. Roy Cooper.

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