North Carolina is the latest state to consider a bill that would permit residents to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
The initiative is being backed by the National Rifle Association, which has been pressing other states to adopt similar laws, according to McClatchy.
In North Carolina, the law currently requires that people go through gun training to secure a permit if they plan to conceal the weapon they are carrying.
"Law-abiding citizens in North Carolina can already open carry a handgun without a permit," NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen told McClatchy in an email. "This legislation simply recognizes that it is often more convenient to carry discretely. More Americans than ever are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment right to self-protection and the NRA wants to ensure they can do so in a manner that is most convenient to them."
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The latest state to pass such a measure was New Hampshire earlier this year.
The NRA's efforts are being challenged by gun control advocates, including Americans for Responsible Solutions.
"What's most important is that permitless carry does not become law," Peter Ambler, chief executive of Americans for Responsible Solutions, told McClatchy. "… You don't want folks carrying around an incredibly dangerous consumer product like a firearm without knowing how to use it. That's not only common sense but a part of the ethos of responsibility in this country that's accompanied the traditions of gun ownership, that unfortunately the gun lobby is getting away from."
The North Carolina bill is being sponsored by two conservative Republicans, but even some GOP members feel it goes too far. Some say they defend the permit system.
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"I'm in favor of that,” said Gary Pendleton, a former Republican state representative. "I don't want to make it easier for criminals to conceal pistols."
Discussions on a permitless concealed carry bill are also under way in Wisconsin. The legislation would permit some people to bring guns onto school grounds and reduce the penalties for unauthorized people who do so.
Democratic state Sen. Lena Taylor, who backed the introduction of the permit system in 2011, opposed the bill.
"I voted for concealed carry," Taylor told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I think people have a right to carry, but I believe that some levels of restriction are appropriate."
Under current law, 12 states allow concealed carry without permits, including Arizona and Alaska.
The Wisconsin law would keep the permit system in place for those who wanted one. This would enable citizens to carry a Wisconsin permit when traveling to another state where permits are still required to carry a firearm.