North Carolina Constitutional Carry Bill: It’s Not All That It Seems

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 8 months ago

— A House committee voted Wednesday in favor of a bill that would eliminate North Carolina’s requirement that people obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

House Bill 746 creates “parity” for people who are allowed to carry guns openly but suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the law if they put on a jacket and cover up their holstered sidearms simply because they lack a concealed carry permit, said sponsor Rep.Chris Millis, R-Pender.

“This bill would allow law-abiding citizens to be able to carry concealed, regardless of obtaining the mandatory government permit, and this ability to carry concealed is only in places where it is currently allowable to openly carry a firearm,” Millis said, noting 13 other U.S. states have similar rules on the books.

Concealed carry permits are issued through a county sheriff’s office, which conducts a criminal background check and looks for records of mental illness or incapacity. The requirement has long been a sore spot with gun rights advocates, who say it gives sheriffs too much power to deny gun owners what they say is their constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon.

Grass Roots North Carolina has worked hard for this bill, and I certainly support it.  I also enjoyed meeting GRNC face to face at the recent gun show in Charlotte, and was pleased to hear that some of them read my articles.  But this bill isn’t all that it seems.

Oh to be sure, it’s potentially carry without a permit, but let me ask you a question?  Why would this be the case?

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association has taken no position on the bill, but said it’s pleased legislators didn’t also move to revoke permits required to buy handguns. County sheriffs are a key voice in the debate because they issue handgun permits.

The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association has taken no position on the bill.  They couldn’t care less.  It tells you why right in that single sentence.  To give you a little background, at one time the CLEO had to issue both permits to carry and permits to buy a handgun.  The permit to carry involved a lot more than permits to buy, including a comprehensive review of medical records that you must turn over to the CLEO.

They still do that, and they also still issue permits to buy handguns, but oops, what do you know, unintended consequences and all, the CLEOs need more time and more money and more personnel because that mental health screening that was previously done for CHP holders – yea, that one, well, they do it for all handgun purchases now.

So just to buy a handgun requires one and the same process as a CHP holder goes through.  Recognizing constitutional carry is a bit of a ruse and misdirect when they have just now incorporated the full CHP process into handgun purchases.  While several months ago some state senators waxed confused and apologetic over the behemoth new system they didn’t know they were creating, it’s almost as if they planned this whole thing to begin with.

Pardon me if I don’t get giddy over constitutional carry in North Carolina.  Get rid of the communist CLEO permitting system for handgun purchases and then I’ll think you’re actually doing something about liberty in North Carolina.


  1. On June 5, 2017 at 9:00 am, Paul Valone said:

    I share your frustration over our inability to achieve repeal of our Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit system (yet). It was actually in an earlier version of the bill, but Millis was unable to get the Republican caucus to move on the bill if it remained.

    However, there seems to be some confusion over background checks for pistol purchase permits (PPP) versus concealed handgun permits (CHP), which are actually quite different. Since inception of the computerized National Instant Background Check System (NICS), PPP background checks have been accomplished through NICS, with relatively few changes to the system. In 2015, however, the NC Sheriffs’ Association slipped into pro-gun omnibus bill HB 562 a provision for a new notarized form to be sent to the Clerk of Court for the county which requires the clerk to review local records for involuntary commitments to mental institutions. Unfortunately, pre-2000 records were, in many cases, not digitized, but instead still on microfiche. This, together with some ideological obstructionism from entrenched clerks, has produced the recent delays in issuance of pistol purchase permits.

    Under Judge Marion Warren (GRNC ****), the Administrative Office of the Courts is digitizing the older records. GRNC has tried, thus far unsuccessfully, to get the notarized form to “sunset” once records are digitized.

    Concealed handgun permit background checks are more extensive, including additional mental health checks, because present language requires the applicant to have no “physical or mental infirmity which prevent the safe handling of a handgun.” In addition to a NICS check, the sheriff submits fingerprints for an FBI fingerprint check. At his discretion, he may also submit requests to local mental health facilities for any records of treatment.

    FYI, with respect to PPPs, in previous legislation we were able to reduce sheriffs’ “discretion” in denying permits, remove limits on number of purchase permits issued, and prevent sheriffs from asking for other information (e.g. mental health checks) or applying additional requirements.

    It is a common misconception that somehow HB 746 impacts gun purchase background checks. It does not. The transfer of a handgun in NC currently requires either a pistol purchase permit or a concealed handgun permit. Nothing about that changes, nor does anything change for the background checks for either of those permits. For gun owners’ purposes, HB 746 does essentially four things: (1) Establishes a system for permitless concealed carry; (2) Keeps the CHP system intact for carry in sensitive areas, purchases and reciprocity with other states, while speeding up the application process and replacing vague “physical or mental infirmity” disqualifiers with a need for the sheriff to disqualifications rest on a current, ongoing and diagnosable mental disorder which would reasonably present a danger to self or others; (3) Narrows the definition of “educational property” where firearms are restricted; and (4) Codifies that the ancient common law charge of “going armed to the terror of the people” does not apply to someone who merely carries a firearm without brandishing it.

    One reason for the misconception is that for purposes of permitless concealed carry, HB 746 creates a new Article 54C which mirrors much of the content of our present CHP statute in Article 54B, but it is important to understand that much of the new (underscored) language in the bill does not create new restrictions, but instead merely mirrors WHAT IS ALREADY LAW.

    So yes, the sheriffs are happy to keep the money and power that go along with PPPs (for now), but no, HB 746 does not apply CHP-style background checks to the purchase of firearms.

  2. On June 5, 2017 at 9:20 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Thanks for your visit Paul, but let’s be very specific here. Mental health checks are now part of the pistol purchase permitting done by CLEOs. At one time this was not done, and was done only for CHP holders. Now it’s done for all PPPs.

    That’s my beef. NC has enabled CLEOs even farther than in the past, setting up the lack of necessity for the CHP because it’s now part of the fabric of purchase regulations in NC.

  3. On June 5, 2017 at 6:49 pm, Jim Wiseman said:

    I don’t care about this bill or that bill. Any bogus “law” that interferes with my absolute, God-given right to protect myself everywhere I go is an infringement. And any “official” who supports or goes along with that infringement is corrupt and should be removed from office.

  4. On June 6, 2017 at 5:07 am, Chuck NoName said:

    I’ll try to keep this short and to the point..I do think as a society we have devolved in terms of responsibility, maturity, character and honor. We are NOT the same nation in terms of our society that we were even 75 years ago. People do not raise respectful, responsible and knowledgeable young folks in regards to firearms. Without the permit system for concealed carry, and the minimal instruction in safety and basic principles of marksmanship that are taught, we as a State will see a HUGE increase in unlawful use of deadly force, gun accidents and a rash of lost/stolen firearms. This will pump new life into the Gun Ban movement that is right now on it’s knees. Be careful what you wish for Libertarians – it may come to pass and result in the slicing off of your nose to spite your face.

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You are currently reading "North Carolina Constitutional Carry Bill: It’s Not All That It Seems", entry #17217 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Gun Control,Guns and was published June 4th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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