For several years now, I’ve been pretty outspoken about some of the changes that need to be made surrounding NC concealed carry law, and one of the things that I’ve always thought needed to be changed was that NC law did not allow the issuance of concealed handgun permits to people who are non US citizens.
On the surface this seems logical, until you realize that there are many people living among us citizens who are permanent resident aliens, otherwise know as green card holders, who have come to the US, and may not be eligible for citizenship for some time. These folks can buy guns, shoot guns, and for the past several years had to go out of NC to obtain a non resident concealed handgun permit from another state before they could carry to defend themselves.
Anyways, last week a Raleigh Judge made a ruling, and issued an injunction against this law in the Messmer v. Harrison case. The brief is a really good read (.pdf), I’d suggest cruising through the 4 pages in it’s entirety, but here’s my favorite part:
No defendant has proffered a strong argument in support of limiting the concealed carry statute to citizens. No defendant objected to plaintiffs characterization in court that resident aliens are allowed to possess firearms on their premises and are even allowed to carry firearms openly in North Carolina. In fact, the Sheriff stated that he agreed with plaintiff that the law at issue in this case was unconstitutional.
The Sheriff in this instance is Donnie Harrison. Once again, I think he’s generally a good guy.
A couple other highlights:
The Court further finds that in the absence of preliminary injunctive relief, plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm. The deprivation of a constitutional right, even if only briefly, constitutes irreparable harm
Traditional legal remedies are inadequate to relieve the harm in this case. The inability to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense cannot be quantified by money damages any more than can the experience of being discriminated against solely based on one’s citizenship status.
So, Injunction granted. Hopefully the NC General Assembly will be able to get this added to a bill during the current short session and fix the bad law, allowing issuance of a CHP to any legal resident.