North Carolina no longer requires a handgun license


North Carolina residents can now buy a handgun without asking the local sheriff’s permission, after the Republican-controlled legislature on Wednesday overrode the Democratic governor’s veto – for the first time since 2018.

The House of Representatives voted 71-46 to enact the bill, scrapping the age-old license system that required sheriffs to conduct character assessments and criminal background checks of those who sign up for the use. pistol. The Senate overturned Governor Roy Cooper’s veto in a partisan vote on Tuesday.

The revocation of the license is effective immediately. Cooper and Democratic lawmakers warn that it allows more dangerous people to obtain firearms through private sales, does not require background checks and limits the ability of law enforcement in preventing them from committing violent crimes.

People who buy pistols from a gun store or federally licensed dealer are still subject to a national background check and still must have a concealed firearms license.

Supporters of the bill say sheriff’s pistol checks are no longer required due to important updates to the national background check system. They also argue that the permit system is not effective in preventing criminals from obtaining guns.

The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association supports repeal based on national system updates, but its current president does not.

Although winning the Republican seat in the midterm elections gave them a veto advantage in the Senate, they were one seat short of a similar majority in the House.

Wednesday’s House of Representatives tally showed that three Democrats — Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County, Cecil Brockman of Guilford County and Michael Wray of Northampton County — did not vote for a replacement, creating enough distance to meet constitutional requirements. Republicans need at least one Democrat to join them, or at least two Democrats who don’t vote.

Brockman was in urgent care Wednesday morning, according to a statement released by his office. Cotham said in a statement that she is being treated at the hospital as scheduled and has informed both parties that she will be absent. She said she was not in favor of the abolition of the license.

A phone message left at Wray’s legislative office was not immediately returned Wednesday. Republicans have given Wray and Cotham key committee chairs this year – a rarity for the majority party in power.

A liberal group called Carolina Forward issued a fundraising tweet shortly after the vote targeting the three representatives, vowing to “hold them accountable.”

House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County Republican who presided over the chamber in the decisive vote, said the provisions in the bill “have been a long-standing goal of First Amendment advocates.” two in our state and we’ve finally completed this legislation.” line.”

Moore used congressional tricks on Wednesday to suppress debate ahead of the vote, causing frustration among Democrats.

Cooper, who has limited time to seek re-election next year, criticized the move by the House leader, saying in a tweet that the arguments in favor of his veto would be “too compelling.” for them to hear.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s Senate vote, some Democrats called for no loosening of gun rights in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s mass shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville, despite despite Republicans’ insistence on asking lawmakers not to politicize the shooting.

“For us, with a deafening tone about what happened in Nashville and pretending it doesn’t matter, pretending that it might not be an issue we have to bring up, it’s unsettling. – with a bunch of kids sitting here,” House Minority Leader Robert Reives said, referring to the group of students watching from the gallery.

While Reives said he asked all Democratic caucus members to be present, he declined to criticize those who were absent or did not vote. The Chatham County Democrat told reporters the repeal could allow domestic abusers and people with mental illness at risk of suicide to acquire guns.

The enacted bill would also allow the carrying of guns into certain school facilities where religious services are held, effective December 1. The new law also creates and funds a campaign to raise awareness. A two-year campaign on safe firearm storage, this campaign will distribute free gun locks.

In 2021, Cooper successfully blocked stand-alone versions of the repeal of the pistol license and another provision allowing concealed weapon holders to be carried openly or in clothing. at churches where private or charter schools also meet. At the time, Democrats had enough seats to block any attempt to pass if they were to unite. The provisions for pistols and religious worship are essentially unchanged when incorporated into this year’s bill.

Guns will not be allowed on campus during school hours or when students are involved in extracurricular activities and houses of worship may refuse by posting signs.

Gun rights advocates have celebrated the override after years of trying to pass the repeal of the pistol license.

Paul Valone, executive director of Grass Roots North Carolina, said: “Second Amendment advocates made history today, the organization campaigned for candidates last year to multi Some Republicans could overrule Cooper’s gun-related vetoes.

Gun control advocates lament the revocation of handgun licenses, saying the removal of handgun licenses would put more lives at risk in the nation’s ninth-largest state. family.

“We will wake up five or 10 years from now and see that our rates of gun homicide and gun suicide have increased,” Becky Ceartas with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence said in a statement. press report.


Hannah Schoenbaum is a member of the Associated Press/Report for the America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that puts journalists in local newsrooms to cover confidential issues.


Associated Press writer Gary Robertson contributed from Raleigh.

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