Editorial: With a bang

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Last week state Sen. Jeff Tarte of Mecklenberg County fired off three quick hits in the Senate with legislation designed to loosen gun restrictions, something many of us did not even realize was a problem.

Our state is gun-friendly enough to be ranked No. 19 in the nation by Guns & Ammo magazine, and also earn Fs from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and smartgunlaws.org.

For decades now, pretty much any North Carolinian who wanted a gun has been able to procure one. Rifles and shotguns are virtually unfettered commodities in the Old North State, requiring neither a permit nor a licensing process. Handguns require only permits for purchase and carry. You can bring guns into restaurants. You can shoot someone in self-defense. The only restrictions on the books concern machine guns and Teflon bullets.

The only other restriction on gun laws is contained in Sec. 30 of our state constitution, making our founders’ position on concealed weapons pretty clear:

“[S]tanding armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained…. Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.”

Tarte’s folly cuts against both of these positions, first with SB 641, which softens the requirements for concealed-carry permits to allow more leniency for people with diagnosed mental illness, convicted felons and violent criminals. It also revokes a county sheriff’s right to assess an applicant’s character before letting that person carry a concealed gun. His cosponsor in this bill is none other than our own Sen. Trudy Wade.

But his masterpiece is SB 708, the “Homeland Security Patriot Act,” which takes the names of two wildly unpopular federal edicts and fuses them together for something even worse.

In case any counties attempt to write their own, stricter gun laws, Tarte sponsored SB 394, “An Act to Ensure Statewide Uniformity of Firearms Laws,” which does pretty much what it says.

But his masterpiece is SB 708, the “Homeland Security Patriot Act,” which takes the names of two wildly unpopular federal edicts and fuses them together for something even worse.

This bill creates a special class of gun owner that receives a new kind of badge, allowing the holder to carry a concealed weapon even into places like government buildings, state-owned rest stops and businesses and properties that don’t allow guns. The names of these Second Amendment warriors will not be made public.

It’s insane, and goes specifically against the proposals put forth in our state constitution, but that document, it seems, has gone out the window.

Also discarded are this Senate’s plans for passing legislation that will spur job growth, support our middle class and give our economy a chance to grow and compete.

More guns won’t help any of us make more money, unless we all start robbing each other.

  • Observer

    For decades now any LEGAL citizen has indeed been able to procure a firearm, and the “unfettered” attainment of shotguns and rifles requires either the possession of a tough to get concealed carry permit or an on the spot FBI background check conducted by the seller: Federal law.
    And yes, you your wife, sister, or mother can shoot someone in self defense.
    PS, there is no such thing as a “gun show loophole” for firearms sales.
    Just thought you’d like to know.
    Thanks.