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Local bill would legalize concealed carry on certain properties

A local bill filed last week in the N.C. House would make it legal in some counties for a person with a concealed carry permit to carry a handgun outside of school hours on property that houses both a school and a place of worship.

Rep. Keith Kidwell is a co-sponsor of H.B. 422, which was introduced by Rep. Jeffrey McNeely. The bill applies to eight counties: Beaufort, Iredell, Lenoir, Craven, Pender, Columbus, Lincoln and Yadkin.

“Under current law, people with concealed carry permits would not be able to carry a firearm because there’s a school that occupies that land,” Kidwell said. “So that means they couldn’t carry a firearm on Sunday or Saturday, at an evening event when there are no children present.”

If the bill were to be signed into law, owners of affected properties would still have discretion over whether to allow firearms.

“So if a church wants to prevent it they can,” Kidwell said. “If they don’t want to they don’t have to.”

The bill would also legalize concealed carry for qualified emergency medical services personnel who are deployed to provide tactical medical services to a SWAT team. In order to qualify, EMS personnel would need to complete a tactical medical assistance course that includes an element on firearms safety and training, instruction on laws regarding the use of deadly force, and “training and qualification on all weapons systems, both lethal and less than lethal, deemed necessary by any law enforcement agency the emergency medical services personnel supports.”

“We’re not talking about when everyone gets on an ambulance truck,” Kidwell said. “We’re talking about when EMS is embedded with SWAT and responding to a bad situation. They would be able to carry a concealed firearm with them so the could defend themselves.”

Currently, a concealed carry permit doesn’t authorize a person to carry a firearm in a law enforcement or correctional facility. H.B 422 would allow a law enforcement agency employee who is not a sworn law enforcement officer to carry a concealed handgun, provided that they have a concealed carry permit and have been designated in writing by the head of the agency in charge of the facility.