Lawmakers in North Carolina are considering gun legislation which includes language to repeal the state’s long-lived requirement for a purchase permit in order for private citizens to buy a handgun.
The Washington Examiner is reporting the law is 110 years old, and the measure to erase it—Senate Bill 41—could have a decent shot at passage, now that Republicans control the state Senate with enough of a majority to override any veto by Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat. In the House, a stand-alone measure aimed specifically at the purchase permit, known as House Bill 50, has already passed on a party-line vote, the Examiner reported. The Senate version also has language about carrying at religious services “that share locations with private or charter schools” and another section creating a “safe storage initiative awareness” effort.
Grass Roots North Carolina supports SB41, noted in a press release, “If enacted, the bill will remove yet another of the ostensibly ‘gun free’ zones that attract mass killers. That measure, plus removing obstructions placed by certain sheriffs on the ability of lawful North Carolinians to buy handguns for self-protection, will vastly improve safety in our state.”
There is no small irony in the fact that North Carolina is considering a repeal of the permit requirement while two states out west—Oregon and Washington—are currently wrestling with the very same subject. Oregon voters adopted Measure 114 last November, which includes a purchase permit requirement, but it is tied up in lawsuits in both state and federal courts. Washington lawmakers are trying to pass legislation requiring a firearms purchase permit. There is a firearms safety training requirement attached in both states.
In North Carolina, HB 50 runs less than a single page, while SB 41 stretches to about three pages.
In the aftermath of last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the Bruen case, questions have been raised about whether a purchase permit is unconstitutional. At least two of the federal actions filed against the Oregon measure ask that question.
According to the Washington Examiner story, there are 100 county sheriffs in North Carolina, and it is up to them to issue the permits. The story says supporters of the repeal effort have complained about the “slow pace” at which purchase permits are processed.
Democrats opposed to the measure reportedly say it will open up a “giant loophole” which could allow “dangerous individuals to obtain handguns through private sellers” without a background check. Grassroots Second Amendment activists say that’s the case already, because criminals ignore gun laws.