RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 27, 2023) – A bill filed in the North Carolina House would legalize permitless carry in the state. The enactment of a so-called “constitutional carry” bill would also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.
Rep. Keith Kidwell (R) and seven Republican cosponsors filed House Bill 189 (H189) on Feb. 23. The legislation would generally allow adults legally allowed to own a firearm to carry a weapon concealed or openly without a state-issued permit.
The proposed law would also allow people as young as 18 to carry concealed handguns. The current cutoff is 21. The bill also includes provisions allowing elected officials to conceal carry even in places where firearms are banned while carrying out their duties, provided they have a carry permit.
North Carolina would continue issuing concealed carry permits for those who want them in order to take advantage of CCDW reciprocity in other states.
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless concealed carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.
The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions such as passing these bills would lower barriers for those wanting the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.
At the time of this report, H189 had not been referred to a committee. When it receives a committee assignment, it will need a public hearing and to pass the committee by a majority vote before it can advance.
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