On Wednesday, August 18, the North Carolina state Senate passed a bill repealing the demand from gun buyers to have a pistol permit to legally make their purchase.

Under present law, a concealed carry license or a pistol purchase permit is compulsory to purchase a handgun in the state. Such documents must be granted by local sheriff’s offices which would have to conduct thorough background checks of the buyer, the Associated Press reported.

While Republicans were able to approve the law on a 27-20 party-line vote, it is likely to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has consistently expressed his support for greater gun control measures and tighter gun sales regulations.

In March, the law was first filed in the state House and adopted by the lower chamber in a 69-48 vote in May.

The Republican members argued that local sheriff clearance was unnecessary since all registered gun dealers must undertake national background checks.

“This law is archaic and it’s duplicative,” alleged Republican state Sen. Chuck Edwards, according to AP.

Backers of the bill pointed to the statewide firearm permit backlog, which has lasted since the COVID-19 outbreak began. According to AP, more than 5,000 applicants at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden’s office were still pending, along with those received in April.

Some have accused the intentional delay was because the sheriff does not want citizens to get the weapons they deserve. 

“It’s been brought to my attention that purchase permits are used to obstruct gun purchases by sheriffs who just simply do not want to allow citizens their Second Amendment rights,” said Henderson County Republican Sen. Chuck Edwards, according to WRAL. “This, it’s become obvious to me, is a tired law that’s ready to go away.”

However, the Democrats of the state recognized that the bill would open a large loophole, considering that federal background checks are only required in registered gun dealers.

“It would suddenly become completely legal for anyone to purchase a handgun, without any background check required, so long as they buy it from an individual or at a gun show, or via the Internet with an in-person handoff,” said Sen. Natasha Marcus (D-N.C.). 

Marcus further pointed out that only criminal convictions are included in the federal system. The latest arrests, ongoing charges, and charges that were dropped are not included. She claims that the local check catches all of them.

“This bill would remove one of the few protections that we currently have in place to stop dangerous people from buying handguns,” she said.

Wake Sheriff Gerald Baker cited the current spike in crimes and uncertainties to argue that laws should be available to reduce the chances of bad people having access to guns. 

“Everyone has a right to bear arms,” Baker said, “but we’ve got to realize that and agree that we’ve got to make it tougher to lawfully own” a weapon, the AP reported.

Meanwhile, Democratic governor Cooper is also known for turning down any attempts to relax state gun laws.

Cooper vetoed legislation that would have enabled parishioners at churches to carry guns, including at religious services held at private schools and some charter schools, for the second year in a row in June, according to AP.

In addition to that bill, he vetoed 25 measures during the preceding two-year legislative session, none of which were restored.

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