RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The state House approved a bill Monday night that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon at certain churches, citing concerns among some church leaders about security.
The lawmaker backing the bill says leaders of a church near her came to her about the issue and were concerned about safety.
But, some pastors say this goes too far and goes against what they preach at church.
It’s typically a tranquil scene at United Church of Chapel Hill, letting people know they are welcome.
But, one thing Reverend Richard Edens says is not welcome: guns.
“Having guns in a Sunday School. What value is that?” Edens said.
The State House voted Monday night 82-34 in support of a bill that could lead to more people carrying a concealed weapon at churches.
Republican Representative Rena Turner says a local church’s leaders approached her after the shooting at Emanuel AME in Charleston.
They said their security team would like to be able to carry a handgun.
“And, after that shooting in Charleston, they were just very concerned about their safety and feeling vulnerable,” Turner said.
A suspected burglar was killed early this morning when a 79-year-old man shot him during a home invasion in eastern Jefferson County.
One of the burglars returned fire and struck the homeowner in the ankle, but he is expected to be OK. Authorities have not identified the dead man.
The ordeal began about 1:15 a.m. at a home on Ormond Drive in Center Point.
Jefferson County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Randy Christian said deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the home. They arrived to find the elderly homeowner sitting on the front porch of the home.
He was suffering from a gunshot wound to his leg. Inside the home deputies found the adult male suspect suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
The homeowner had been asleep when he was awakened by a noise from his basement, Christian said. Two suspects had forced open a basement window and entered the house.
The suspects continued upstairs and confronted the victim who was still in his bed. One of the suspects ordered him not to move. The victim then grabbed a gun that he kept by his bed and began firing at the suspects.
One suspect fell and the other fled. The victim chased the fleeing suspect out of the house. As the suspect ran across the yard he fired a shot that struck the victim in the leg. He then got into a waiting vehicle driven by a third suspect and fled the scene.
Donald Trump’s election to the White House has inadvertently slowed gun sales as many Second Amendment supporters no longer fear strict gun control. But as a result, the nation’s economy – both public and private sectors – might have to bite the bullet, and some states could take a bigger hit than others.
In its latest impact report, The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the leading trade association for the firearms industry, estimates that the gun arena has created around 30,000 jobs over the past three years. And in 2016 alone, it is reported to have contributed more than $51 billion to the country’s economy and a further $7.4 billion in federal and state taxes.
“The economic growth America’s firearms and ammunition industry has experienced over the years has been nothing short of remarkable,” the NSSF stated. “Over the past couple of years, the industry’s growth has been driven by an unprecedented number of Americans choosing to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and purchase a firearm and ammunition.”
The NSSF insists that broader economic impact flows throughout the economy, “generating business for firms seemingly unrelated to firearms,” such as in banking, retail, accounting, metal working, even in printing, all depend on the firearms and ammunition industry for their livelihood.
Legislation filed Thursday would allow concealed-carry permit holders to carry their handguns on UNC system and North Carolina community college campuses.
Rep. Kyle Hall, a Republican from King just north of Winston-Salem, said House Bill 251 would make campuses safer by allowing trained firearms holders to carry their weapons. But the legislation is likely to draw complaints from gun control groups and from higher education officials.
“This is just another safeguard to make sure our campuses are safe,” said Hall, a 2012 UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and one of four bill sponsors. “Our students and faculty should feel safe when they go on campus.”
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A “We the people” petition for the federal government to repeal the National Firearms Act closed Sunday with a quarter million signatures, while one to scrap the machine gun ban narrowly failed.
Both petitions to the White House for gun reform started on President Donald Trump’s inauguration day and ended on Feb. 19.
The more popular of the two, “Repeal the NFA” seeking to do away with the National Firearms Act of 1934, garnered 254,314 signatures. There were over 4.4 million NFA items of all types listed on the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR) as of Feb. 2016 including destructive devices, machine guns, suppressors, and short barreled rifles and shotguns.
The second, to “Repeal the 1986 Hughes amendment,” the law which bans new production of machine guns for civilians, picked up 97,837 signatures.
Each petition needed 100,000 signatures to earn a response from the White House and had to reach that goal by midnight Sunday.