NC lawmakers push to loosen state’s gun regulations


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A day after the mass shooting in Orlando, state lawmakers in North Carolina pushed for a bill that would loosen the state’s gun regulations, but critics said it could jeopardize safety.

The bill in question would amend the state’s constitution “to repeal the provision which provides that the General Assembly may prohibit the practice of carrying concealed weapons.”

Rep. Mike Speciale (R-3rd), who is one of the bill’s sponsors, says the regulations the way they are now are infringing on people’s rights to carry a weapon in the first place.

“It’s the right of the people. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That’s pretty clear. It doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court says in my mind or in a lot of the citizens’ minds,” he said. “Criminals are not getting their stuff legally, so they’re not going through the permit system. So, they’re carrying anyway.”

The bill was introduced in the House Monday night and assigned to a committee for review.

Under the bill, you would still be able to get a permit to go across state lines. However, you still wouldn’t be allowed to carry a concealed weapon inside the legislature, at courthouses or places that serve alcohol.

The group Moms Demand Action gathered at the legislative building Monday, urging lawmakers not go forward with this plan.

They say not only will it compromise people’s safety but it’s a poor response to what just happened Sunday in Orlando, in which a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others at a popular gay nightclub.

“The timing, I think, is poor in the sense that yesterday the nation was shocked,” said Christy Clark. “We should be thinking more about gun violence prevention and less about making it easier for dangerous individuals to have access to guns.”

Kim Yaman, who survived a shooting at the University of Iowa in 1991 in which five people were killed, said she worries about how common mass shootings have become since then.

“We’re becoming as a society where there’s an actual demographic of people who have survived shootings,” said Yaman. “We can’t make this an everyday thing, where our main motivator of walking around in the world is fear.”

If the bill passes the legislature and gets the governor’s signature, it would still need approval from voters in November because it’s a proposed constitutional amendment. A spokesman for Speaker of the House Tim Moore said he hadn’t had a chance to review the bill yet and had not committed to bringing the bill up for a vote before the end of the legislative session. Leaders in the House and Senate are aiming for the session to end by the July 4th holiday.

RELATED: Full Orlando Terror Attack coverage

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