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N.C. lawmakers pass sweeping changes to gun laws

RALEIGH North Carolina lawmakers have approved a bill greatly expanding where concealed handguns are legally allowed.

The Republican-backed bill approved by the House and Senate on Tuesday allows concealed-carry permit holders to take firearms into bars, restaurants and other places where alcohol is served, parades and funeral processions as long as owners or organizers don’t expressly forbid it.

The measure now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

The bill will also allow concealed-carry permit holders to store weapons in locked cars on the campus of any public school or university, or a state government parking lot.

Permit holders can also carry their firearms at public recreation areas and playgrounds.

The bill establishes uniform requirements for reporting information about mental health and substance abuse court findings to the national instant criminal background check system.

The compromise bill dropped a provision approved by the Senate that would have repealed a long-standing requirement that those purchasing handguns undergo a background check and receive a permit issued by their local sheriff’s office.

McCrory said he wanted to leave handgun licensing decisions with sheriffs.

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