ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. – On Thursday, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill that could loosen the requirements to carry a concealed firearm. Now, House Bill 746 is off to the Senate.
While it would let up on the permit requirement, and drop the age from 21 to 18, several gun advocates are against the proposed legislation. One concealed carry instructor – Tyres Tatum – says his opposition comes from lessening the already-minimal education requirement.
“I’m not in favor of it. I urged by local representative not to vote in favor of the bill,” he said, “It’s not because I’m against the Second Amendment. Obviously, I’m pro-Second Amendment. I’m the biggest Second Amendment guy in Rockingham County. But if this bill passes, it would take away the educational component.”
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He’s talking about the eight hours of training required to get a certificate, which someone would turn around and hand to the Sheriff’s Office. From there, you would undergo a more extensive background check, and if approved – pay, and get the permit to carry concealed.
Tatum has been teaching about two concealed carry classes per month since 2004. He says recently, gun sales are up – as well as the demand for classes like his. But, before you get the certificate – he has the final say.
“When I sign that certificate, I am saying they are qualified to perform the way the state wants them to perform,” he said.
If this bill become law, people wouldn’t need to take a class like his to carry their firearm concealed.
“It would mean we have a whole new segment of people in North Carolina who can carry weapons,” said Tatum.
A few local law enforcement agencies oppose the bill – including the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
“We think the concealed carry permit is a good thing because it does require checking of people’s backgrounds to be sure they’re qualified to carry concealed,” said Colonel Randy Powers.
Sheriff Robert Graves, from Randolph County, says his two biggest cautions are the age drop, and how the bill does away with the permit requirement.
Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County supports the bill. He told WFMY News 2 on Wednesday, “it’s about one’s ability to protect themselves.”