RALEIGH, NC (AP) – The long practice in North Carolina of county sheriffs granting permits to local residents before they can purchase a handgun would end under legislation approved by the House on Wednesday night.
The North Carolina Sheriffs Association supported the repeal of the gun purchase license – a change of direction for the group after years of opposition to the idea. Sheriffs were still reviewing concealed weapon license applications.
Under federal law, licensed gun dealers are required to perform an instant national background check before a person can purchase or receive a handgun. People convicted of or charged with certain crimes may be prevented from purchasing a firearm.
The sheriffs group and supporters of the bill say that the records in the background check database have become stronger in recent years, especially when it comes to involuntary engagements for mental health treatment or drug addiction.
Improvements to the background check system “made the gun license obsolete” and duplicative, said Eddie Caldwell, executive vice president of the Sheriffs Association, as quoted in a press release from House Republicans.
the repeal the proposal Comes as sheriffs in some urban counties were overloaded with purchasing permit applications last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing delays of several months even now, said Republican Jay Adams of Catawba County , a sponsor of the bill.
“The permit system takes away the resources available to the sheriff’s department,” Adams said before the bill was passed by a majority party line vote of 69-48. “It restores those abilities.”
Gun control advocates opposed the repeal, saying the licensing program had prevented applicants otherwise prohibited by law from obtaining guns from obtaining them. The process orders the sheriff to conduct a criminal background check, determine if an applicant is of good character and if the person is considering using the weapon for a legitimate purpose.
âFor over 100 years we have had a license to purchase a gun license in North Carolina. He saved lives, âsaid Rep. Marcia Morey, Democrat for County Durham. “It worked. There is no reason to suppress this in North Carolina.
Permits are already not needed if someone wants to buy a rifle. A concealed firearms license can already replace the license to purchase handguns.
Ending the gun purchasing system would eliminate the requirement for a person to obtain a license before purchasing a gun from another person. Adams said last month that nothing would stop someone from asking a federal firearms license holder to do a national background check.
Shannon Klug of North Carolina Moms Demand Action, a gun control group, said in a statement that the bill “will make it easier for domestic abusers and people with dangerous backgrounds to buy firearms. background check and no questions.
The bill is now heading to the Senate. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who would be asked to sign a bill, has backed gun restrictions following mass shootings in recent years.