RALEIGH—A bill aimed at making multiple changes to North Carolina's gun laws has narrowly been advanced to the House floor.

The proposal has been on a rocky road this legislative session, being put in and taken out of committee several times as the bill sponsors worked to find a compromised deal. However, the negotiated proposal still has its critics.

The House rules panel voted 14-13 in favor of House Bill 562. Chairman David Lewis cast the tie-breaking vote. The legislation goes to the House floor despite opposition from Gov. Pat McCrory and the NC Sheriffs Association to a provision that would end the pistol permit application system in 2021.

The permit is designed so people who want to buy a handgun through a private sale are checked out. The bill also would allow General Assembly members and legislative employees with concealed weapons permits to carry their handgun on the legislature's campus.

Supporters of the change say it is long past due.

“It was initially designed to be racist.  Even today.  You know who would put up with the idea that somebody in the government can make an arbitrary capricious decision over whether or not you get a driver’s license,” said Jeff Rau, of Grassroots NC.

But the Sheriff's Association has said it is opposed this provision, and so are some activists.
“H562, by weakening the pistol permitting process encourages easy access to firearms by people who shouldn't have them,” said Karen Halderman, with Moms Demand Action.

Other changes of note, would allow the state agriculture commissioner to ban firearms at the State Fair if they choose.

“The State Fair presents a unique set of circumstances. It is a very highly trafficked area. It is also an area that has ample law enforcement addressing the issues there,” said Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, a Mecklenburg County Republican.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration. it is expected to be debated on Thursday.