Yesterday North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed House Bill 398. Even though the bill passed along party lines with a 27-20 vote, most expected Cooper’s veto. Unfortunately, gun owners in the state will still need to get a state-issued permit before purchasing a firearm.
Current North Carolina Law:
Currently, North Carolina law says the state will conduct a background check on the individual making a gun purchase. Then, the state issues the buyer a “purchase permit.” A Federal Firearms Dealer (FFL) can accept this state permit in place of a NICS background check. However, an FFL can also choose to conduct a NICS background check as well.
It may seem trivial, but it isn’t. North Carolina is one of the states that submit all criminal and mental health records to the FBI NICS background check system. This means the state and NICS systems contain the same information.
Overly Burdensome to the Purchaser:
So essentially, a gun buyer in North Carolina pays the state to conduct a background check. Then, they pay an FFL to conduct a second background check. Two background checks are burdensome and unnecessary, especially because both checks are pulling from the same information.
The state and the private FFL both have a monetary interest in conducting a background check. The ultimate loser is the gun buyer, who must absorb a higher price.
However, opponents of the bill, including Gov. Roy Cooper, have another interest in keeping the status quo beyond the revenue. Only FFL’s can conduct a NICS check. But, North Carolina’s “purchase permit” applies to ALL purchases, even private party sales.
Overly Burdensome to Law Enforcement:
Local Law-Enforcement supports the bill and cites that the requirement creates a burden for understaffed and underfunded departments. Currently, the state charges $5.00 for the purchase permit. However, representatives from local agencies stated that this fee isn’t sufficient to cover the manpower required to support the program.
Buyers often wait for appointments to obtain a purchase permit, while NICS checks at the FFL typically return results within minutes.
Again, laws like these only impact people who follow the law in the first place. People that follow the law are less likely to commit violent crimes using guns. On the other hand, Criminals are not likely concerned with “purchase permits” and NICS background checks.
Gun owners opposed to state or federally mandated universal background checks must remain engaged in politics. I, for one, hate talking about politics. However, if I am apathetic in the process, I somewhat forfeit my right to complain about the outcome.
What Do You Think?
I don’t live in North Carolina, so I am interested to hear about what native North Carolinians think about the veto of House Bill 398.
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