Politics & Government

House passes watered-down gun bill

After another long and often heated debate, the N.C. House passed a bill that clarifies the rights of gun-owners and allows district attorneys to carry concealed weapons in court.

The House passed the bill 78-37, largely along party lines.

The measure, whose main sponsor was Republican Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer of Charlotte, was watered down Tuesday by a handful of amendments, many from her fellow Republicans.

Lawmakers had removed a provision that would have repealed the pistol permit system that requires handgun buyers to get permits from their local sheriff. And they took out another that would have allowed lawmakers and their staff to carry concealed weapons in the legislature.

Lawmakers Tuesday also voted to keep a lifetime ban on getting a concealed weapons permit for people convicted of misdemeanors involving domestic violence.

Current law bars people convicted of certain violent misdemeanors from getting such a permit. The bill initially changed that to a three-year ban for all misdemeanors. Lawmakers kept the lifetime ban for crimes such as stalking, assault on a female and domestic criminal trespass.

But as passed, the bill made other changes such as prohibiting local governments from passing gun laws stronger than the state.

“There’s still a lot of good stuff in this bill,” said Republican Rep. Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County. “It is a bill that supports the rights of our citizens.”

But even with a watered-down bill, not everybody was happy.

“This is a much improved bill, but is still a bad, unnecessary, insane bill,” said Rep. Rodney Moore, a Charlotte Democrat.

Morrill: 704-358-5059