Earlier this month in Texas, a jury acquitted a man who shot and killed an unarmed woman. He had paid her $150 to be his escort and killed her when she refused to have sex with him. Under Texas law, it’s legal to use deadly force to retrieve stolen property at night, so the jury agreed that it was his right to shoot her in the neck to get his money back.
In California, a private Catholic school fired a teacher because her ex-husband, against whom she had a restraining order, showed up at the school. He was arrested, but the school decided having her on staff was too dangerous. Perhaps school officials were aware that while California has some of the strongest gun control laws in the nation, he could easily get a gun in neighboring Nevada or Arizona.
I start with these examples to emphasize that in many states, women’s safety is increasingly at risk. Lawmakers’ desire to expand people’s ability to own and use a gun means that more women are in danger.
North Carolina received an F from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence because of its weak gun laws. The one bright spot on the state’s report card – our state requires all handgun purchasers to obtain a license from a county sheriff’s office.
That may soon change. Both chambers of the General Assembly have passed different versions of House Bill 937, which would do away with the current permit system for handguns. Attorney General Roy Cooper says the changes in this bill will make it easier for those with criminal records, domestic violence abusers and the mentally ill to obtain handguns.
The House version of the bill allows people with concealed handgun permits to bring their guns onto the campuses of public universities and keep them locked in their cars. The Senate version would give permit holders that same privilege on the campus of any public school. The chiefs of all 17 UNC campus police departments have come out in opposition to the measure, but the bill is still alive in the legislature.
The bill would also allow concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, as well as at parks, parades and funerals.