On March 26, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed House Bill 17 by a vote of a 97-20. The bill, introduced by Representative Justin Burr, seeks to make personal information associated with concealed carry handgun permits and handgun purchases confidential. Representative Bell was a primary co-sponsor the bill.
Individuals applying for concealed carry permits or a license to purchase a handgun must submit their name, address, date of birth, and the drivers license identification number to their county sheriff’s office. Currently, the information on these applications is regarded as public records that are accessible by anyone. (“Public records” are defined in the North Carolina General Statutes 132-1 as a variety of documents types connected with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government and are considered to be the property of the people.)
There are roughly 300,000 concealed carry permit holders in North Carolina. 36 other states have established Right-to-Carry confidentiality laws.
HB17 would protect the privacy and safety of gun owners by prohibiting the disclosure of an applicants personal information by media outlets, as happened recently with The Journal News, WRAL-TV and The New York Times. The Journal News came under fire for publishing an online map containing the names and addresses of licensed concealed carry gun owners in two New York counties and in White Plains, NY, a home was burglarized in an attempt to steal firearms from a gun owner whose name and address had been published by the paper. WRAL News used limited information from the concealed handgun database to allow users to look up how many permit holders lived on their street — essentially treating innocent, law-abiding gun owners the same as prosecuted sex offenders.
Representatives Burr and Bell were joined in sponsoring HB17 by Representatives Mike Hager, Mark Hollo (primary sponsors), Dean Arp, John Blust, Bill Brawley, Mark Brody, Rayne Brown, Dana Bumgardner, George Cleveland, Jeff Collins, Carl Ford, Jim Fulghum, Jon Hardister, Bryan Holloway, Craig Horn, Frank Iler, Bert Jones, Jonathan Jordan, Susan Martin, Pat McElraft, Chuck McGrady, Allen McNeill, Chris Millis, Tim Moffitt, Larry Pittman, Michele Presnell, Jason Saine, Ruth Samuelson, Jacqueline Schaffer, Mitchell Setzer, Phil Shepard; Michael Speciale; Edgar Starnes, Bob Steinburg, Mike Stone, John Szoka, John Torbett, and Harry Warren.
The bill now goes to the Senate where it has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration.