Bill loosening NC gun laws heads to Perdue
RALEIGH, N.C. — Legislators agreed Thursday to ease the state's gun laws to allow more access to concealed weapons and give gun owners more assurance that they can protect themselves or family members from an intruder entering homes, businesses and vehicles.
The House voted 80-39 for changes to the Senate version of a wide-ranging firearms bill. Gun-rights groups and Republican lawmakers who control the Legislature and are more sympathetic to Second Amendment issues sought the changes.
"This is not breaking new ground, so we'll be conforming to what other states are doing," said Rep. Mark Hilton, R-Catawba, the bill's chief sponsor. "We've gone too far to the left on these issues in the past and too restrictive."
The bill now heading to Gov. Beverly Perdue also had support from a strong Senate majority, making legislation largely veto proof. It wasn't immediately clear whether Perdue would sign the bill, which passed as the General Assembly attempted to end its regular annual session by this weekend.
The lynchpin of the legislation widely expands what's known as the "castle doctrine." It gives legally armed citizens the right to protect themselves against an unlawful entry. Current law may require the shooter inside the home to justify use of weapons with deadly force after the fact.
The approved bill presumes that such weapon firing was lawful under "a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm," and the shooter is exempt from civil or criminal liability. The presumption would go beyond the person's home to the workplace and the car if there was a carjacking. Prosecutors could still attempt to persuade a judge or jury the shooting crossed the line.