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UPDATE: Guns On Campus Bill Passes Hurdle, Another Vote Today

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The state House has given its initial approval to Republican legislation that would expand where concealed weapon permit holders can carry or store their pistols, while extending penalties for crimes committed with a gun.

The chamber voted 76-38 Monday night in favor of the measure endorsed by gun-rights groups but opposed strongly by University of North Carolina leaders.

Concealed weapon permit-holders would be allowed to store a gun in a locked car on a public college campus and give that option to private colleges if administrators agree. The proposal also would let permit holders arm themselves in a restaurant where alcohol is served unless the establishment expressly forbids it.

Democrats were angry because Republicans used parliamentary maneuvers to block votes on amendments.

A final House vote is expected Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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Some North Carolina lawmakers want to give concealed weapon permit holders more places to carry or store their pistols.

The House scheduled debate Monday on a Republican-backed measure that's endorsed by gun-rights groups but opposed strongly by university leaders.

Some provisions would allow concealed weapon permit-holders the ability to store a gun in a locked car on a University of North Carolina or community college campus. Boosters say the weapons will serve as a crime deterrent. UNC President Tom Ross says the provision would only increase safety risks.

The proposal also would let permit holders arm themselves in a restaurant where alcohol is served unless the establishment expressly prohibits concealed weapons.

The bill also includes longer penalties for gun-related crimes.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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ECU's chancellor has joined other educators in opposing a proposal that would allow concealed weapon permit holders to store their handguns in locked vehicles on campus.

In a statement today, Chancellor Steve Ballard says the bill, which is moving through the General Assembly, could have a direct and negative impact to campus safety.

While supporters of the bill say it will make campuses safer, Ballard feels the opposite could happen. "In fact, it has the potential to create dangerous situations for our faculty, staff, students and visitors," said the chancellor. "For example, if an incident occurs on our campus, law enforcement arriving on the scene must be able to quickly distinguish suspects from bystanders. Allowing weapons on campus could hamper their ability to make split-second decisions while assessing the situation. The consequences could be tragic."

Earlier this week UNC President Tom Ross called on lawmakers to remove that portion of the bill, citing concerns for campus safety.


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ECU Police and students are reacting to the call from UNC System President Tom Ross that the legislature remove part of a bill that would allow concealed weapons permit holders to store their handguns in locked vehicles on the campus.

Ross says the potential for tragedy outweighs the potential benefit.

While ECU Police say they're against allowing concealed guns on campus, some students say they see the pros and cons.

Some students, like ECU Junior Tevin Woodard, see the proposal by lawmakers as a way to prevent crime. Woodard says, "If someone starts walking their way, then they know they can feel safe by going in their car, and if this dude or female tries to fight them or tries to rob them, then they have something that can protect them."

But others, like ECU Junior Kevin Walker, say it would be useless in many situations. For example, if there were a shooter on campus. "If you're on your way to your car and you cross the guy, it's already too late. Or, as far as having the gun and getting back on campus, the police might think you're the suspect."

ECU Police Lieutenant Chris Sutton agrees. He says if the bill becomes law, officers will have to adapt. Sutton says, "When I'm approached, I would have to take the mindset that there's going to be a gun in that car, period."

Another concern with bringing a concealed weapon on campus is knowing where to store it in your car. Woodard says for the people trying to steal them, they know exactly where to look.
Woodard says, "Everybody's going to either hide it under their seat, or put it in the glove compartment because it's kind of easy to get to."

The bill says the gun would have to be locked in your vehicle. But Sutton says, "While it may be in a locked part of your car, you've got a car with a gun in it that's unattended. And that's not safe."

Walker believes, "The best thing to do would be to leave it in the hands of law enforcement, and probably not let students do it. It's not wise."

Lieutenant Sutton and UNC President Ross say car break-ins could certainly lead to guns falling into the wrong hands.

Sutton says even permit holders with the best of intentions could end up putting themselves in a dangerous situation.


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