State senators have passed a measure that would do away with handgun permits and add more places people can carry or store firearms.
Republican backers say House Bill 937 protects Second Amendment rights and increases penalties for concealed carry weapon permit owners who drink and carry their guns. The measure allows handgun owners to bring their weapons into bars and other establishments that serve alcohol, as long as proprietors allow it. Democratic Senator Ellie Kinnaird expressed skepticism about the bill on the Senate floor yesterday.
"We heard that law-abiding, god-fearing, upright citizens who're permitted to carry concealed weapons can be trusted where alcohol is concerned, presumably because they are good citizens," said Kinnaird.
But Kinnaird went on to cite an investigative study finding that 900 concealed carry permit holders had been convicted of drinking under the influence over a five-year period.
The bill would also allow handgun owners to carry their weapons on all educational property. State Attorney General Roy Cooper opposes the measure, saying requiring handgun owners to procure licenses is a good safeguard.