Proposed concealed handgun changes: GRNC position

Over the past two weeks, numerous NC concealed handgun permit (CHP) instructors have contacted Grass Roots North Carolina to express concerns over changes announced by the NC DOJ Criminal Justice Standards Commission which would make it significantly harder for students to obtain training for CHPs.

As North Carolina’s primary gun rights organization, GRNC opposes any change which makes concealed carry more difficult, potentially increasing criminal predation of people obstructed from obtaining permits.

It should be noted that although the commission has scheduled a public hearing for August 9, and we will soon give instructions for attending that meeting, the June 23 memo sent to CHP instructors implies that the changes are already set in stone, potentially violating NC General Statutes pertaining to regulatory rule-making.

Below is the position issued to Attorney General Josh Stein, whose NC Department of Justice oversees administration of CHPs, giving him until July 14, 2023 at 5:00 PM EDT to rescind or mitigate changes. Once we get a reply (or, more likely, no reply), we will begin issuing GRNC alerts for corrective action.


July 11, 2023

Attorney General Josh Stein

114 West Edenton Street

Raleigh, NC 27603


Dear Attorney General Stein:


I have directed Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) since its inception in 1994, during which time GRNC has become our state’s primary Second Amendment organization. 

In 1995, I was deeply involved in drafting and passing our original concealed handgun permit (CHP) law. Since then, GRNC has been central to passing concealed handgun reciprocity; legislation enabling CHP-holders to bypass purchase permits; Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground; and the expansion of concealed carry into restaurants, public assemblies, state and municipal parks, parades and funerals and, to a limited degree, educational properties. Our most recent project was Senate Bill 41 to repeal our Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit law and expand concealed carry into churches which sponsor schools.

Recently, GRNC has received numerous complaints from concealed handgun instructors regarding rule changes sent by email to many (but reportedly not all) instructors on June 23, 2023. The most serious complaints are:

  1. No public input was sought prior to drafting the proposed changes. Although the Criminal Justice Standards Division has scheduled an August 9 public meeting to discuss them, the June 23 message from Bob Overton says, “These changes will take effect on October 1, 2023. Below is a summary of the changes that are being made by the Commission…” implying that the changes described in the memo are immutable. Also, while G.S. 150B-21.1 authorizes “temporary” rules, and 150B-21.1A “emergency” rules, both are statutorily authorized only where “adherence to the notice and hearing requirements of G.S. 150B-21.2 would be contrary to the public interest,” in addition to other conditions. It is difficult to understand how public input on purely administrative matters related to the timing and reporting of CHP courses could be considered “contrary to the public interest.”
  2. The requirement that instructors submit a “Pre-Delivery Report” thirty (30) days prior to a class is an onerous restriction which will make it significantly harder for lawful citizens who want concealed handgun permits to obtain the necessary training.
  3. The proposed “Post-Delivery Report” to be sent by instructors presents yet another burden, particularly for instructors who do not conduct training as their primary livelihood.
  4. The requirement that instructors keep a “roster” of students, including full legal name and “contact information” represents an invasion of privacy for students who take the course but do not, for whatever reason, choose to apply for a concealed handgun permit. Given that the state maintains a database of concealed handgun applicants, the requirement is also redundant.

Because the North Carolina Department of Justice Criminal Justice Standards Division and its director, Jeffrey Smythe, fall under your direction, GRNC considers you responsible for these egregious changes.

As I’m sure you are aware, GRNC opposes any measure which makes it more difficult for lawful North Carolinians to protect themselves and their families. In particular, implementation of the “Pre-Delivery Report” requirement will make it significantly more difficult to obtain the training for a concealed handgun permit, almost certainly suppressing applications and rendering citizens vulnerable to violent crime.

In the absence of sound evidence that changes to instructor protocols are needed, GRNC will regard additional restrictions as abuse of a regulatory agency to harass lawful gun owners, much as the Biden administration is misusing rulemaking and oversight authority via the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Accordingly, by 5:00 PM EDT on July 14, 2023 we need acknowledgement that proposed changes which burden concealed handgun instructors will be withdrawn or otherwise mitigated. Failure to do so will result in GRNC taking action up to and including asking the Republican supermajority in the NC General Assembly to make legislative changes to the concealed handgun certification process as they have recently done with the NC State Board of Elections.

Armatissimi e liberissimi,*

F. Paul Valone

President, Grass Roots North Carolina

Executive Director, Rights Watch International

Radio host, Guns, Politics and Freedom

*  First spoken by Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of modern power politics, with reference to the universally armed and therefore unconquerable Swiss, Armatissimi e liberissimi means “most armed, most free.” As an expression of the importance of the right to arms to freedom, it is GRNC’s credo.