The Transylvania Times -

 
 

By Eric Crews
Staff Writer 

Gun Law Changes Begin Oct. 1 -Brevard NC

 


Legislation signed Monday night by Gov. Pat McCrory broadens areas where concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry concealed firearms.

Prior to the governor’s signing the bill into law, the legislation passed both the N.C. House and N.C. Senate in votes primarily along party lines. The legislation will go into effect Oct. 1 and will expand places concealed weapons can be carried with a valid permit to include bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, public parks, trails and playgrounds, as well as theaters, sporting events and other places requiring ticketed admission.

The law will also allow concealed weapons to be stored in locked cars on the campus of any public school, university or state government parking lot.

Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney said the expansion of the concealed carry permit regulations doesn’t concern him because of the mandated background check and training permit holders must undergo to receive their permit.

“I am not concerned about expanding the places permit holders can carry,” Mahoney said. “We do a complete background investigation on permit applicants and monitor compliance with current regulations. If a permit holder does violate a provision of the permit rules, their permit may be suspended or revoked for that violation.”

Applicants for a concealed carry permit must undergo eight hours of training covering laws and firearm safety and pass both a written test and a proficiency test before they submit to background checks covering medical and criminal history.

Some area business owners disagree with the state legislation’s decision to allow guns in places that serve alcohol.

One of those is Mike Young, owner of The Falls Landing in downtown Brevard, who opposes the expanded legislation.

“I’m not anti-guns by any means, but I just think allowing people with concealed weapons into an establishment that serves alcohol isn’t a good idea,” he said.

While concealed carry permit holders are not legally allowed to drink alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon, Young said it would be difficult for a bartender to know if someone were carrying a weapon.

“If somebody asks for a drink, am I supposed to ask if they have a concealed weapon?” he asked.

As a result, Young said he intends to post a sign on the door of his restaurant prohibiting people with firearms from bringing in concealed weapons.

When reached, other local restaurants declined to comment.

For some in the community, however, the expanded legislation did not go far enough.

Bennett Greenberg, a gun instructor with Bear Arms Shooting Range in Brevard, has been certified as a gun instructor for 36 years.

He hoped state legislators would do away with restrictions on all “gun-free areas” and allow permit holders to carry their guns everywhere.

“I would have liked to see it go further,” he said. “I would like to see the complete abolition and revocation of any gun-free zone. Anytime that you have a gun-free zone, that is just telling the criminals, murderers and bad guys, ‘hey look, this is an area where you can go prey on people and unless there is a law enforcement officer, there isn’t nobody going to be able to stop you.’”

Greenberg believes there is increasing momentum behind the notion that guns should be allowed to be carried by concealed carry permit holders wherever they go to be able to protect themselves and their families from those who would inflict harm upon them.

“If you’re going to license someone to carry (a concealed firearm), you’re saying they are a responsible person and you are granting them permission to carry, just not around children. I just don’t think that’s right,” he said. “My children are my most precious resource. Why wouldn’t I want to have a gun to protect them?”

Under the current legislation, Greenberg said he is often forced to make two trips into town because he is not legally allowed to drop his daughter off at school while carrying his concealed weapon.

The legislation that will go into effect in October will change that by allowing him – and other permit holders – to carry their firearms onto public school property as long as the firearm is stored in a locked compartment, such as a glove box or center console. One provision of the law requires more rapid reporting of mental health adjudications to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, in accordance with federal mandates.

Bennett Greenberg, a gun instructor for 36 years, practices gun control techniques using a home-invasion simulator at Bear Arms Shooting Range in Brevard. (Times photo by Eric Crews)

It also stiffens penalties for crimes involving firearms.

Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris said he believes the stiffer penalties and tighter regulations could be a good thing if it keeps guns out of the hands of convicted felons and children.

“I do think anything that makes it harder for felons to be in possession of firearms and harder for children to get firearms are good additions to the law,” he said.

The law is also set to have an impact on hunters in time for this year’s deer hunting season, as it would allow hunters to install noise suppressors on their rifles and shotguns.

Similar to concealed carry permit holders, those wishing to own a suppressor must meet federal qualifications, which include a $200 tax and criminal background check.

 
 
 
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