As expected, the state House on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons to bring their firearms into bars, restaurants that serve alcohol, college campuses and parks.
Approval of what is likely the major gun bill of the session – by a vote of 78-42 -- came after lengthy debate on Monday and Tuesday. Democrats emphatically complained that the GOP leadership repeatedly thwarted their efforts to amend the bill.
Republicans used a legislative maneuver to table proposed amendments 12 times (once for a Republican amendment). Before Tuesday’s session, Democratic lawmakers called a news conference to complain about the tactic limiting the debate.
House Minority Leader Larry Hall of Durham said House Speaker Thom Tillis and Rules Committee Chairman Tim Moore had gone back on their promise to allow full debate on the proposed amendments.
Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh said if Democrats used that tactic when they were in the majority it was a long time ago and on bills where the outcome was a close vote.
“When you have the votes to do whatever you want, allowing debate doesn’t hurt the ability of something to get passed,” Ross said. “When there has been a clearer majority with a clearer ability to get what you want, generally there has been more graciousness for the process and not shutting other people down.”
Tillis said on the House floor that he was allowing extended debate because of the tabled amendments.
The bill now heads to the Senate.