Hopefully by the time you read this our North Carolina Senate and House members have come to an agreement and have passed NC House Bill 937. This is a powerful and supportive bill of our rights as gun owners and Conceal and Carry permit holders, not to mention our privacy.
This bill has recently come to light with the event of the Senate adding a section that would do away with the purchase permits for single handgun transactions. No longer would a person have to go to their countysherriff’s office, apply and return within a week or more to pay a small fee to obtain permits.
Currently, North Carolina Counties differ in number of permits per month a person can apply for. Some allow two a month while other counties allow as many as five at a time. Until recently, no two counties had permits that looked alike. Some are single sheets, some are three part and some are full sheets while others are 1/3 cut. This can be a bit confusing to an FFL when trying to determine the validity of a permit. Several counties don’t list an expiration date and some don’t even list a permit number.
But regardless of all these differences, if the House Bill 937 passes as is, the permit process will eventually be replaced with an FFL calling in an NICS Background check (which is currently done for long guns unless a person has a valid N.C. Conceal and Carry permit).
When I recently spoke with an N.C. House representative he mentioned to me that one of the primary concerns being discussed about this bill was the feeling that N.C. residents would have their ability to purchase a handgun determined by the federal government and not the local sheriff’s department. Now I have never conducted a background check for a purchase permit (since that is currently the sheriff’s department’s responsibility) but I believe that a similar process to the NICS background check is conducted; thereby, the federal government data base is already being accessed.
Our neighboring states of Virginiaand Tennesseehave conducted this practice for years, eliminating the need for the sheriff’s department permits and having an NICS background check done at time of purchase as well as a valid state photo identification.
What is the privacy issue you ask? Well, this beautiful piece of legislature makes the documents you fill out when purchasing a firearm in the State of North Carolinacompletely private and only available to law enforcement upon request. It makes the information of who has permits and N.C. Conceal and Carry Permits off limits to anyone except law enforcement. What does this mean to you? Well, you may remember a story that ran in the paper about a year ago about a town in Westchester County, N.Y., where someone obtained the lists of all gun owners and printed them in the paper, including a map with locations of their private homes. This is still America, right?
Well, our North Carolinapoliticians want to ensure our privacy remains out of the hands of individuals who have no business obtaining it. You want to know how many gun owners live in your town, just ask for a show of hands — most North CaroliniansI know aren’t shy.
Remember knowledge is power and there is no limit on what you can learn.
Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.
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