CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police takes a stand against legislation that would allow gun owners to carry concealed without a permit.
"I'm not opposed to people carrying concealed weapons, i never leave home without one," said Randy Hagler, who serves as the President of the NC FOP and Chief of CMS Police.
Hagler says applicants seeking a concealed carry weapon permit must have criminal history and mental health is evaluated by local sheriff's departments before a permit is granted. He says, when one of the 6,000 officers he represents stops a CCW permit holder, they are assured that the individual has been properly vetted.
"We have not had a problem with it that we can tell, and I think there is no need to fix what isn't broken," he declared.
However, HB 746 passed the House with a vote of 65-51 Thursday. The bill would allow anyone over 18 who purchased their weapon legally to carry it concealed without a permit. Gun owners who make purchases at gun shops do undergo background checks. However, individuals can sell guns to each other without any paperwork.
"I just feel like it's going to put a lot more guns on the street readily available that is really not necessary," said Hagler.
Permits are currently granted to legal gun owners 21 and up, but the vetting process can take months. .
"The good citizens that carry their guns don't cause problems, the criminals don't follow the law anyway and carry concealed so the good citizens are disadvantaged because it takes so long to get the permits," said Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Gun and Coin.
House Majority Leader John Bell said in a statement, "This legislation proves House Republicans are committed to providing a responsible approach to public safety while maintaining the ability for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families.”
However, Hagler says protecting his officers and the community is why he opposes this bill.
"We think allowing that group from 18 to 21 to carry concealed is dangerous for officers, certainly dangerous for officers but is dangerous for everybody," he asserted.
HB 746 is now headed to the Senate. Hagler says they have reached out to Senate leaders to see if some changes could be made, particularly concerning the provisions that would allow adults under 21 to carry concealed.