RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA — North Carolina House of Representatives had two bills on the floor which would effectively end the antiquated pistol permit process and allow staffers and congressional aides to carry concealed firearms on the state capitol. Now struck down, as well, was a provision preventing physicians and healthcare professionals from talking with their patients about guns and gun safety.
As some of you may have heard, physicians had begun asking patients if they owned guns – a completely unnecessary question in most respects. Well, they were outraged when the North Carolina House initially moved against that in April. Why should the State have the right to protect its citizens from invasive and non-healthcare related questions?
More importantly – why does a dental hygienist need to know if you have a firearm?
It’s hopefully a question more North Carolinians will be asking their healthcare providers as the State backs away from placing restrictions (and fines) on such questions.
Anti-Gun Lobbyists Rear Their Ugly Heads In Raleigh
Even though the process by which a sheriff can go five years into a person’s background to assess their “good moral character”, dropping the other two provisions was the product of terse political pushing by North Carolinians Against Gun Violence.
As the executive director of NCAGV, Becky Ceartas, described it,
“We saw courageous lawmakers reach across the aisle to garner bipartisan support to the amendments that were passed.”
If bipartisan support means sacrificing the rights of North Carolinians to keep and bear arms – is that a sacrifice worth having?
“We were also incredibly happy that it preserved health care providers’ rights to talk with their patients about gun safety and disclose information to law enforcement officials if needed,” she said.
Great. So doctor-patient confidentiality is essentially worthless in the State of North Carolina. If a patient does want to discuss some pressing issue with any healthcare provider, he or she can volunteer that information at his or her discretion. No consultation with the patient or discussion needed.
Where North Carolina Gets It Right
For those concealed carriers driving up to an educational institution – elementary school or otherwise – there’s that moment where he or she needs to transfer the weapon from holster to vehicle compartment. Prior to these recent rounds of legislation, that moment could be an accidental felony charge. That’s right – transferring from holster to compartment on school grounds constituted a breach of law.
What about cities and counties in North Carolina that impose additional restrictions on firearm? According to the Tar Heel, the House is looking to protect gun owners who get caught in that quandary.
So the final take-away from this recent legislative session is that gun control groups managed to effectively block any real change to North Carolinian gun laws but at least North Carolinians may be offered some easement from accidental felonies and predatory municipal gun laws.
As the law is currently written, North Carolinians must apply for a permit to purchase a handgun from their local sheriff’s department. After the sheriff’s department does their background checks and reference checks, they issue the permit to purchase. A North Carolinian may then go purchase said pistol. If he or she has a concealed carry permit, that step may be bypassed. However, sheriff’s are the issuing authorities and many have used the five year background check to deny applicants based upon “good moral character” definitions.
What do you think constitutes “good moral character”? Do you think healthcare providers have a duty to inquire about your firearms? Tell us in the comments section below.