One of the overarching themes of my 2018 Toxic Agenda article on Second Amendment rights is related to the fact that North Carolina has fallen behind many red states when it comes to protecting gun rights. Much of the reforms to strengthen gun laws in other states occurred during the tenure of a Republican governor and GOP supermajorities in the North Carolina General Assembly. North Carolina was unable to scrap the Jim Crow era pistol permit or pass a version of Constitutional carry.
A more moderated bill recently considered by the General Assembly is Senate Bill 90, which would have streamlined the pistol permit process. The bill (or addition to the bill) appears to have vanished (more on that below). Here is the descriptor from Travis Fain at WRAL:
Under current law, people who don’t have concealed carry permits have to get a pistol purchase permit from their sheriff for each handgun they buy. They can get more than one permit in a day, and there’s no limit how many permits they can get, but each purchase requires separate paperwork from the county sheriff.
Senate Bill 90 would change that, making a single permit good for five years, regardless of how many handguns the person buys.
On face value, the bill appears to be a common sense start to pushing reforms back in the direction of freedom instead of the stalled out status quo under NC Republicans. Reforms favoring firearm protections haven’t been passed since 2015, and of those none of them were sweeping.
Pistol permits, many of them from the Jim Crow era, been have been scrapped by some states in recent years. Here’s a short snippet from David Kopel’s 2005 piece titled “The Klan’s Favorite Law:”
As Jim Crow intensified, other Southern states enacted gun registration and handgun permit laws. Registration came to Mississippi (1906), Georgia (1913), and North Carolina (1917). Handgun permits were passed in North Carolina (1917), Missouri (1919), and Arkansas (1923).
As one Florida judge explained, the licensing laws were “passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers… [and] never intended to be applied to the white population.”
But of those states listed only North Carolina still has the local requirements for pistol permits.
Paul Valone, president of Grassroots North Carolina and some other Second Amendment supporters balked at the proposed pistol permit reform because he says the legislation ultimately gives sheriffs more power to decide who can have a pistol and who can’t. North Carolina is, of course, like most, is a “shall issue” state when it comes to concealed carry permits. Valone elaborated that it functionally would push North Carolina in a direction that would, in essence, be reflective of a “may issue” state. Under the proposed legislation, sheriffs would have broader power over issuing concealed carry permits on top of the pistol permits. Of course, there is fear too that the legislation might enshrine a Jim Crow era pistol permit indefinitely when the goal has always been full repeal.
It’s time for law enforcement, citizens, and legislators to come together to scrap this arcane law. If there is any bickering or infighting, it needs to stop. Why are North Carolinians trusted less than citizens of other states? Why are their rights less inherent and recognized? These are important questions for the citizens to think about. Is it true that citizens in Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and elsewhere are better suited for freedom and Second Amendment protections?
Legislators should at least force a veto by the governor of a bill that would repeal a law that is directly rooted in enforced racial segregation and violates the inherent right to bear arms as well as the spirit of equal protection under our Fourteenth Amendment.