RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Churches that meet on private school campuses in North Carolina could allow members or visitors to carry concealed handguns if they’re otherwise permitted in legislation approved Monday night by the state Senate.
The measure is essentially a portion of a 2020 concealed weapons bill that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed. An override failed.
Supporters of this year’s legislation say they’re trying to treat churches that operate a school the same as standalone houses of worship in the name of safety and security of attendees.
Current law allows a standalone church to let its parishioners and others wear concealed weapons if they have a permit or otherwise exempt. But that’s prohibited at churches that hold services at the same site where the school operates.
The bill would allow the permit holders to carry the gun only outside of the school’s operating hours. There’s also an opt-out clause whereby these churches could prohibit concealed weapons by posting a sign.
The bill, approved 31-18, now goes to the House, where bills also being considered this year contain provisions in the 2020 vetoed measure.