Each new year means law-abiding gun owners in North Carolina need to be on the lookout for the latest assault on the Second Amendment. You may have seen discussions about bills that could affect your gun and self-defense rights.
North Carolina Law Activity
North Carolinians were fortunate in 2020, since no new gun laws restricting your rights were passed. While there were some bills proposed in committee, none were even voted on. A favorable bill that would have expanded the right to carry a concealed handgun on educational property that is also a house of worship was passed by the legislature but vetoed by the Governor.
As for 2021, the new legislative session started on January 13. House Bill 86, which was introduced in the 2019-20 session, included provisions that would require permits to purchase any long guns and assault rifles (currently NC requires permits only for handguns); make it mandatory to report firearm thefts; and reduce our concealed carry reciprocity with other states. This bill did not even make it out of committee, but it may make another appearance in the legislature this year. In past years, legislation has been discussed on issues like “ghost guns” and red flag laws, and may reappear as proposed legislation this year. While such discussions have not led to much support in the past (and this year may be no different), we need to be aware of the potential for changes to North Carolina gun owners’ rights. However, most legislative efforts in 2021 will likely be geared toward dealing with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the good news is there probably won’t be any new legislation passed in North Carolina this year that infringes on your right to carry.
The picture from the federal government is less certain.
Federal Proposals on the Horizon
Last session, the 116th U.S. Congress proposed assault weapons bans, red flag orders, mandatory reporting of NICS denials to law enforcement, and countless other anti-2A legislation. All of these individual proposals were awful, but none were worse than the omnibus HR 5717 (Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020), which would have incorporated the worst provisions of each of these proposals. If you want a preview of what anti-gun bills filed during the 117th Congress could look like, pay attention to HR 5717. The 117th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2021, and their term ends on January 3, 2023. To learn about how federal law is made, check out The Legislative Process by the United States House of Representatives, and stay tuned. We are keeping a close watch for bills and resolutions that would affect Second Amendment rights.
For more information about 2021 legislation that could impact your rights as a law-abiding gun owner, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
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