Bill that would allow concealed carry in churches that meet on school property heads to Cooper’s desk

North Carolina Politics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A bill that would allow concealed carry permit holders to have a handgun in a place of religious worship that is also educational property has passed in the North Carolina Senate.

State senators passed Senate Bill 43 with a 30-19 vote. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Roy Cooper.

The governor previously vetoed a similar bill that passed in the General Assembly in 2019. Cooper released a statement afterward saying: “This bill allows guns on school property which threatens the safety of students and teachers.”

Under current law, regardless of having a permit, weapons are not allowed on any form of school property, even if it is in a church. It is a Class I felony to possess or carry any gun on educational property.

The bill would also authorize concealed carry for certain law enforcement facility employees.

A handgun could be carried in a place of religious worship that is also a school by an individual with a concealed handgun permit or who is exempt from obtaining that permit when all of the following apply:

• The property is not owned by a local board of education or county commission.
• The property is not a public or private institution of higher education.
• The property is not posted with a notice prohibiting carrying a concealed handgun on the premises.
• The handgun is only possessed and carried on the property outside of the school operating hours.
School operating hours are defined as any time a curricular or extracurricular activity takes place
on the premises, any time when the premises are used for educational, instructional, or school-sponsored activities, and any time the premises are being used for programs for minors by entities
not affiliated with the religious institution.

If this bill became law it would take effect on Dec. 1.

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