The North Carolina State Senate approved a bill that terminates the state’s requirement to obtain a permit through their local sheriff’s office to purchase a handgun.
The Republican-controlled state Senate passed the bill with a 27-20 vote along party lines.
Current law requires local sheriffs to perform background checks on civilians applying to purchase handguns. In addition to performing background checks on applicants, sheriffs must also evaluate their character and ensure that the gun will be use for a lawful purpose.
Republican state Sen. Chuck Edwards blasted existing law as “ineffective” in stopping criminals from obtaining guns.
“This law is archaic and it’s duplicative,” said Edwards.
Democrats argue that the background check requirements do not apply to private gun sales between two individuals and that the new law would increase the possibility of criminals obtaining firearms.
“This bill would remove one of the few protections that we currently have in place to stop dangerous people from buying handguns,” said Democrat state Sen. Natasha Marcus.
North Carolina law requires sheriffs to inform permit applicants within 14 days of their application whether their permit will be granted or denied. According to Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden, his office has nearly 5,300 applications to examine and he is still in the process of examining applications sent in April.
The bill will likely be vetoed by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper, a staunch advocate for strict gun-control regulations. Cooper previously vetoed legislation from June that would have given parishioners at church the right to carry firearms during church.