RALEIGH – A measure broadening the places people can carry concealed firearms in North Carolina and repealing a requirement to get a license to buy a handgun has tentatively passed the North Carolina Senate.

The Senate gave initial approval to a bill Wednesday that allows concealed-carry permit holders to take or store guns in more places. The bill also adds new safeguards and toughens penalties.

The state attorney general opposes the repeal of the license requirement. Republicans argue it’s a dated law.

Democrats argue the bill as a whole goes well beyond popular opinion and will encourage more gun violence. Republicans say the law targets illegal gun use while promoting responsible gun ownership.

The bill will likely return for a final vote Thursday. The House will have to approve the Senate’s changes.