It was not, as some social media threads suggested, filed the day after a crazed gunman murdered 50 people with a legally obtained AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle. HB1148 was actually filed days earlier, but that makes it no less ridiculous and no less dangerous.

North Carolina’s HB 1148 proposes to amend the state constitution — the principal set of rules upon which all others in the state are based — to do away completely with any regulation of concealed-carry permits in the state of North Carolina.

To wit: “Any person who is a citizen of the United States and is at least 21 years old may carry a concealed weapon in this State unless provided otherwise by law.”[pullquote]This law was not designed to make us safer; it was designed to make us afraid[/pullquote]

More interesting is the sentence that will be removed from Sec. 30 of our constitution: “Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.”

It’s a complete 180.

If passed, the item will go on the November ballot in a statewide referendum. And if it passes, we will be one of seven states — along with Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming — to allow such a thing.

It’s an obscenely cynical move — not unlike HB2, which purports to help children in public restrooms while actually endangering the most vulnerable among us — because a lot of North Carolinians probably believe a law-abiding gun owner with a .357 Magnum in her fanny pack could have ended the Pulse nightclub massacre before it began.

That they would be wrong does not matter to the prevailing voices in our legislature. In fact, they seem to be counting on it.

Make no mistake: This law was not designed to make us safer; it was designed to make us afraid — that, and pull some campaign donations from the NRA. It was also designed to bring bedrock Republican voters out in November, which should tell us something about who is actually scared here.

There’s a lot at stake for the NC GOP in November: pressure to deliver the state for Trump and to keep McCrory in power, along with new congressional districts the gerrymandering of which has yet to be tested by an actual election. Even the state reps, mostly in safely drawn districts, would benefit from the bump of a clearly cut, values-driven wedge issue.

It is a similar ploy to the marriage amendment, which was passed during a primary before it was declared illegal. And just as in that instance, it doesn’t seem to matter to our General Assembly who gets hurt.

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