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Letter: Gun measure raises troubling questions

The North Carolina House narrowly approved a measure, House Bill 746, that rolls back the requirement to obtain a concealed-carry permit for a firearm. Although trumpeted as an effort to extend the abilities of citizens to exercise their right to bear arms, the potential ramifications are troubling. Hopefully the Senate will address these concerns, as the House forced a vote without considering all proposed amendments.

Numerous law enforcement officials have voiced concern regarding the bill, including a former police chief and Republican, Rep. John Faircloth. He noted the prospect of the lax law allowing gang members who have no criminal record to carry numerous weapons in bags. With no limit on how many firearms one could conceal, the scenario is not far-fetched.

Furthermore, the multiple classroom hours and live-fire training that a concealed-carry permit entailed are wiped away. Whereas one needed to be 21 before, now any 18-year-old that can carry a firearm openly may conceal. This lack of training would be mitigated, somehow, by providing for an elective course in high schools. Thus, formerly requisite training to conceal a firearm would be an optional class, available only to students in school. The burden of training is a small cost in exchange for valuable instruction and preparation.

The law allows legislators and their staff to carry within legislative buildings in Raleigh. Just weeks ago, a Texas representative threatened one of his peers during a raucous debate, suggesting he might shoot the other lawmaker in the parking lot. It stands to reason that the presence of firearms within the Legislature could affect the earnest debate and often rigorous dissent that lawmakers value while crafting thoughtful policy.

The ability of individuals, legislators especially, to utilize their First Amendment rights does not bow to the rights of those inclined to exercise the Second.

— Kirk Kovach

Salisbury

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