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Don’t eliminate pistol permits, AG Cooper urges House

Release date: 6/24/2013

Change would mean more criminals, abusers, mentally ill could legally buy handguns

Raleigh: Ending North Carolina’s pistol purchase permit program would make it easier for criminals and other dangerous people to buy guns legally, Attorney General Roy Cooper told members of the North Carolina House today.

House Bill 937 is returning to the House from the Senate with a new provision that eliminates the requirement of obtaining a pistol permit from the local sheriff before a handgun can be acquired. 

While federal background checks apply to those purchasing handguns and other weapons from federally licensed gun dealers, the pistol permit program applies to all individual buyers at gun shows or anywhere else.  Therefore, eliminating pistol permit background checks means more criminals, domestic abusers and the mentally ill can legally buy handguns,” Cooper wrote today in a memo to all House members.

Currently pistol permits are issued by local sheriffs, who check the applicants for citizenship, felony or domestic violence convictions, court judgments of mental incompetence or commitment to a mental institution, or drug abuse.  The permit is required for anyone purchasing a handgun, whether privately or in a store.

While federal background checks apply to those purchasing handguns from federally licensed gun dealers, buyers from anyone else would no longer undergo the pistol permit background check if HB 937 becomes law.

Between 40 to 50 percent of all reported murders committed in North Carolina over the past 10 years were committed by people using handguns, according to State Bureau of Investigation statistics.

Both the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police oppose the provision.

Legislators should look for ways to strengthen the North Carolina Pistol Purchase Permit Program instead of doing away with it, Cooper said.

“I urge you to oppose eliminating the pistol permit program to help protect the public,” Cooper wrote in his memo.



Media contact:  Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413