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CMPD Chief Signals Wariness Of Easing Concealed Carry Restrictions

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney speaking at a town hall in June 2017.
Nick de la Canal
/
WFAE
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney speaking at a town hall Saturday

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney is wary of a bill that would relax restrictions on carrying concealed handguns in North Carolina. Speaking to reporters at a town hall Saturday, Putney said North Carolinians did not need more laws that could lead to more shootings by irresponsible gun owners.

"We've got to be a bit more thoughtful in what we're doing," Putney said, "We don't want to contribute and exacerbate the situation. What we don't want to have is laws that create the opportunity for more loss of life."

The bill would nearly eliminate the need to get training and a permit before carrying a concealed handgun in places where it's currently legal to openly carry guns. It would also lower the minimum age for carrying concealed weapons from 21 to 18.

When pressed by a reporter Saturday, Putney refused to say outright whether he supported or opposed the proposed legislation. He said he would be attending a conference with other police chiefs from around the state next month where they will draft a formal response to the bill.

"We want to weigh in," he said, "What we're going to do is analyze the bill that's being proposed, and then talk about how we might speak to those people who are proposing bills to say, 'Hey, listen, this might have a detrimental effect to what we're trying to do to ensure public safety.'"

The legislation is moving swiftly through the General Assembly. On Thursday, the House passed the bill, despite the state's Fraternal Order of Police coming out against the measure the same day. The bill has yet to be voted on in the Senate.