Proposed bill would allow concealed weapons on UNC campuses

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – A bill introduced by four Republican North Carolina lawmakers would allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring their weapons onto the campuses of UNC System schools and community colleges.

“Honestly, I find it a little horrifying,” said UNC Chapel Hill senior Ana Dougherty.

Diane Li, a UNC Chapel Hill senior said, “I don’t feel safe if someone has a concealed-carry and I don’t know about it or I don’t know that they have a gun on them.”

Josette Chmiel, of Grass Roots North Carolina, said, “It’s definitely a common-sense bill that is needed in the state of North Carolina.”

Rep. Kyle Hall (R-Rockingham) is one of the sponsors of the House Bill 251.

He told CBS North Carolina that an Appalachian State University student contacted him after having done training and background checks to have a concealed-carry permit – only to realize he couldn’t bring his weapon onto campus.

“I saw it not only as a self-protection issue but I saw this as a constitutional issue because I don’t think that anyone’s constitutional right should end by simply by walking onto a college campus,” Hall said.

Chmiel said, “The police unfortunately cannot be everywhere every time. This law will allow those sane, sober, law-abiding, responsible individuals who have gone through the system that have said you can carry a concealed firearm that will allow them to be able to protect themselves.”

Dougherty said, “I don’t really buy that argument just because I don’t think that we should try to address the possibility of violence with literally bringing on tools for violence.”
Li said, “I just think it creates an issue, a safety hazard in a way. We can’t really be sure whether or not people, what they will do with a concealed weapon or anything.”

Asked what she would say to people who express safety concerns about the bill, Chmiel said, “This is more of a safety concern than the current crimes that are happening on campus? That makes absolutely no sense.”

CBS North Carolina asked Louis Bissette Jr., chair of the UNC Board of Governors, about the bill Friday morning. He said he had heard about it just minutes prior.

“I have a concealed-carry permit. I’m not packing today. But I do. I understand that there are a lot of issues around that and I hope that the legislature will look carefully at it before ending up with a final bill,” he said. “It’s something that our chancellors and our security people will be looking at and will hopefully have some input to the legislature.”

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