NC lawmakers consider bill to allow concealed carry in churches – even if they’re on school property

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — North Carolina lawmakers are trying to allow concealed carry permit holders the right to bring their weapon to church with them, even if the church is on school property. House Bill 134, the Second Amendment Protection Act, would only allow permit holders to carry weapons to church if the school is out of session.

UPDATE: NC Senate OK’s allowing concealed handguns at more churches – including ones on school property

Under current law, regardless of having a permit, weapons are not allowed on any form of school property, even if it is in a church.

Dr. Marc Stout, the head of Gaston Christian School said he wouldn’t mind if the law passed.

“There’s a church that uses our facilities,  Elevation Church, here at Gaston Christian school. And we would have no problem if that law were to pass because we won’t have any students here. They just use it on Sunday. And if as long as it’s lawful, I would have no reservation at all about them doing that,” Stout said.

Rep. Jay Adams, one of the sponsors of the bill, said it would serve as more of a warning to criminals than anything else.

“It has a suppressing effect or a chilling effect on people who have bad intent because some law-abiding citizen may have a gun and may be able to defend themselves,” Adams said.

Pastor Theo Schaffer said when his first congregation started up, they were actually on school property and faced the effects of the current law firsthand.

“We never carried in there because of rules and regulations. It will be interesting to have that conversation with them about these possibilities,” Schaffer said.

And Stout believes everyone has the right to defend themselves.

“If you restricted churches being able to have protection for their worship services, and then they’re just sitting ducks. And I think that they need to have the ability to protect themselves,” Stout said.

This is the third time this legislation has made it to the house floor. The last time it passed with bipartisan support but was shot down by Governor Cooper with a veto. Cooper released a statement saying: “This bill allows guns on school property which threatens the safety of students and teachers.”

Rep. Jeffrey McNeely said it didn’t appear the Governor grasped the scope of the bill.

“He did not read the bill with what he replied. He did not read the bill because he said students don’t need to be where guns are. The bill clearly states that there will be no guns present on these campuses during school hours, or school activities,” McNeely said.

House Bill 134 is scheduled to be brought to the Judicial Committee on Tuesday.

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