RALEIGH — Legislators in both houses of the General Assembly had filed identical bills for the repeal of the state’s Pistol Permit Purchase laws.
Senate Bill 40, titled Pistol Permit Purchase repeal, was filed by Sen. Danny Britt (R-Robeson), along with Senators Warren Daniel (R-Burke) and Jim Perry (R-Lenoir).
The bill would repeal various statutes surrounding the issuance or denial of a permit for buying a pistol or similar firearm. It would also repeal statutes dealing with the confidentiality and record-keeping requirements related to such permits and related statutes for buying blank cartridge pistols.
Additionally, if passed and signed, the bill would repeal GS 122C-54(d2), which allows a sheriff access to a record of involuntary commitment for mental health treatment or for substance abuse treatment.
Critics have pointed out that GS 122C-54(d2) is duplicative since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System already requires that information. In the past few years, several lawsuits have been filed against the Mecklenburg County Sheriff for allegedly abusing the mental health statute and delaying Concealed Carry Permits.
An identical bill, House Bill 50, was filed in the House on Feb. 2 by Rep. Allen Chesser (R-Nash). Other co-sponsors of the House bill include Reps. Dustin Hall (R-Caldwell), Kyle Hall (R-Stokes), and Jason Saine (R-Lincoln).
The bills will likely be consolidated as the session moves forward. If a permit repeal bill is passed, it is likely Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will veto it has he did with House Bill 398, the repeal attempt made in 2021.
Cooper vetoed House Bill 398 despite it having the backing of the N.C. Sheriff’s Association. The association’s General Counsel Eddie Caldwell told North State Journal that the association still supports the repeal of the pistol purchase permit.
The state’s largest firearms advocacy group, Grassroots North Carolina (GRNC) issued a statement on the repeal bills.
“The right to self-defense is a fundamental civil right. Under the pistol purchase permit system, a sheriff may deny an application by invoking a subjective “good moral character” requirement which has been used even in recent years to deny minorities their rights,” said GRNC President Paul Valone.
“GRNC has had to file three lawsuits over unlawful attempts by certain urban sheriffs to obstruct the issuance of permits,” Valone said. “We have seen examples of how the current system can be abused by those in positions of authority and it’s time we repeal the mechanisms that have allowed some to infringe upon the rights of North Carolinians.”
Two other bills dealing with firearms were filed last week; one in the House and one in the Senate.
Senate Bill 67, titled the Firearm Safe Storage Awareness Initiative, was filed by Rep. Bobby Hanig (R- Currituck) and Sens. Danny Britt and Jim Perry.
The bill seeks to raise firearm storage safety awareness through a two-year, statewide public service campaign to be conducted in a collaboration between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Wildlife Resources Commission.
The campaign will educate the public on the importance of safely storing firearms, will facilitate the distribution of gun locks, and will include development of a website and creation of a toolkit for outreach use by July 2024.
Money to pay for the campaign, website and toolkit will be provided by the General Assembly in the House Bill 47, titled School Protection Act, was filed by House Deputy Majority Whip Rep. Jake Jackson (R- Polk) and was joined by Reps. Neal Jackson (R-Randolph), Brian Biggs (R-Randolph), and Bill Ward (R-Pasquotank).
The bill alters the definition of security guard to allow for them to carry firearms on certain nonpublic educational property, such as a private school, parochial school, or other qualified nonpublic schools.