(The Center Square) – Widespread opposition to changes for concealed handgun permits from Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein’s Department of Justice is expected to result in a revised proposal at a meeting on Wednesday.
Paul Valone, president of the gun rights group Grass Roots North Carolina, told The Center Square the Justice Department’s Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission “received such … opposition to some provisions they’ve backed off some of them.”
Gun rights proponents flooded a commission meeting in August. They voiced strong opposition to administrative changes to the process for concealed handgun permits Grass Roots NC says would “make it significantly harder for lawful citizens who want concealed handgun permits to obtain the necessary training.”
The changes called for the state’s roughly 2,600 instructors to prepare a “predelivery” report for training a month in advance, as well as a “postdelivery report” and a “concealed carry handgun student roster” form with student names and contact information.
Officials with the Justice Department suggested in a video meeting with Valone that they’ve eliminated those provisions from the proposal and may instead work with the State Bureau of Investigation to audit permits.
“The bad news is we’re not really sure what they have in mind,” Valone said. “That remains to be seen what format that will take.”
“They seem to be doing their best to avoid public comment,” he said.
A meeting scheduled for Wednesday was split into two locations, Valone said, at Wake Technical Community College and the Garner Performing Arts Center at 742 Garner Road in Garner. An initial notice provided the wrong address to the latter, he said.
While the impetus behind the proposal has centered on allegations some concealed handgun instructors have been shortcutting the required training for a permit, Valone contends Justice Department officials have “yet to produce any concreate examples of that happening.”
“It’s just second-hand, word-of-mouth hearsay,” he said.
Harvey Morse, president of the North Carolina Concealed Carry Handgun Instructors Association, said in a news release ahead of Wednesday’s meeting the commission “is currently on a bender to root out a small handful of instructors who are breaking the rules and these proposed changes are negatively affecting all 2,600 instructors when only a few are the perpetrators.”
Morse says proposed changes “put an unnecessary burden and expense on instructors” and would overwhelm state employees that also investigate sheriff’s offices, police departments and other law enforcement training.
“Their time would be better spent working on investigations to identify the actual perps and let the other instructors do their jobs in a law abiding manner as the vast majority have done for decades,” he said in the statement.
The Center Square was unsuccessful, by time of publication, getting questions answerd by officials with the Justice Department and Criminal Justice Education Training Standards Commission.
“If they come up with anything objectionable the rulemaking process allows us to (trigger) legislative review” if 10 citizens make the request, Valone said. “I guarantee you I can get hundreds of requests.”