With the end of the legislative session in sight, the General Assembly has yet to pass a bill restoring Second Amendment protections to North Carolinians. The House passed HB 937, a lukewarm set of reforms that would have expanded the locations where concealed carry is permitted. The Senate then passed its own version of HB 937 – a bolder bill which, among other things, removed the requirement for North Carolinians to obtain a purchase permit from their local sheriff’s office before buying a handgun. Cowed by opposition from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, the House refused to pass the Senate’s revisions to HB 937. The sheriffs alleged that background checks performed through a national database known as NICS were inferior to the checks performed by their own agencies. Legislators rejected proposed compromises that would have improved some of the shortcomings of NICS.
In an earlier post, I wrote about how the handgun purchase permit system is deeply flawed. Because purchase permits are used in lieu of background checks at gun stores, gun dealers can unknowingly sell firearms to felons who had obtained purchase permits before they had criminal records. A Charlotte Observer article noted some cases where felons had used purchase permits to buy handguns, with the gun dealer none the wiser.
North Carolina is currently one of only twelve states that require citizens to obtain a permit from the government before buying a handgun.
As the map indicates, North Carolina is the only state in the South to require purchase permits. We join the illustrious company of gun-free paradises like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Here’s a tip for lawmakers – when your laws look like New York’s laws, there is a problem.
The clock is ticking down on HB 937. Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, warned: “The impasse makes it very possible that the bill will not pass during this session, and it is unlikely they will move it in an election year.”
Valone added: “If this fails, [lawmakers] will be held accountable … Speaker Tillis is largely culpable for the death of the bill, if it dies.”