After reading House Bill 976, the Gun Safety Act, it becomes hard to believe that Joe Biden, Diane Feinstein and Andrew Cuomo are nowhere to be found roaming the halls of the North Carolina General Assembly. After all, the Gun Safety Act reads as though it is straight out of their no-compromise, gun control playbook. Filled to the brim with left-wing fantasy regulations, HB 976 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.
Sponsored by Representatives Paul Luebke (D- Durham), Pricey Harrison (D- Guilford), Verla Insko (D- Orange), and Alma Adams (D-Guilford), the Gun Safety Act seems to operate under the assumption that gun “safety” is best defined as any regulation that makes it more difficult for ordinary North Carolinians to legally acquire or own a firearm. Sweeping in nature, the bill targets gun ownership in one fell legislative swoop. Included is the usual gun control wish list: the repeal of the Castle Doctrine, a liability insurance requirement for pistol ownership, a requirement for victims of stolen firearms to report it within 48 hours (or be charged with a crime), a requirement for Sheriffs to report any irregularities from background checks to the NICS, and a law forbidding firearms from being stored anywhere a person under 18 can access it. In short, Vice President Biden would be proud.
However, it does not stop there. What is most notable about the Gun Safety Act are the rigid background checks for all private handgun sales. In order to sell a handgun from a private collection, North Carolinians would have to go to a licensed gun dealer to acquire a background check (which would cost up to $10) for the individual seeking to purchase the gun. Only after this background check is completed can the sale legally continue, and any violation of this section would result in a Class 1 misdemeanor and a two year prohibition from possessing a firearm. What does this mean? If you want to sell a handgun from your private collection, perhaps to a friend or neighbor you have known and trusted your entire life, you would not be able to do so unless that person has been approved by a criminal background check.
Interestingly enough, all of this is done in the name of “safety,” while information supporting the effectiveness of strict gun control is tenuous at best. For instance, according to the Brady Campaign, California has the strictest gun control laws in the country. According to the FBI, relative to their populations, the number of gun murders in California is substantially higher than it is in Utah (where they have the least restrictive gun policies in the country). Furthermore, states associated with the highest rates of gun ownership, such as Wyoming (nearly 60% of the state owns a gun according to this study), are often among the states where the least amount of gun violence can be found. While this does not definitively prove or disprove the effectiveness of gun control, it does suggest that easier access to guns certainly does not automatically translate to more gun related tragedies.
Legislators better have compelling arguments and evidence before they impose intrusive and unnecessary regulations on North Carolinians. In this case, North Carolina would be wise to say no to The Gun Safety Act and its flippant attitude towards the 2nd amendment. Because it is unlikely to make anyone any safer and infringes on basic rights of gun ownership, HB 976 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.