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‘A Shameful Day’: North Carolina Senate Passes Background Check Repeal Bill; Advocates Respond

August 18, 2021

Gun Violence Survivors, Moms Demand Action Volunteers are Available for Interviews

Advocates Held Press Conference Urging Lawmakers to Reject HB 398; Recording Available
RALEIGH, N.C. – The North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statements after the North Carolina Senate advanced HB 398, a bill which would repeal North Carolina’s background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales. The bill now moves to the governor’s desk.

“Today is a shameful day for the North Carolina Senate – they abandoned their commitments to public safety in order to do gun extremists’ bidding,” said Jack Sinclair, a volunteer with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “There’s never a good time to make it easier for people with dangerous histories to purchase firearms, but with all the gun violence we’ve seen recently, this might just be the worst time.”

“2020 was the most violent year in the 21st century in our state,” said NCGV Executive Director Becky Ceartas. “Gun deaths, excluding suicides, rose by 31% in 2020 compared to 2019 and repealing our pistol purchase permitting system will surely mean the loss of more lives.”

“North Carolina’s pistol permitting system works. It saves lives. There is simply no compelling reason to repeal it and we urge policymakers to keep it the law in North Carolina,” said Gerald Givens, Raleigh Apex President of the NAACP and NCGV board member. “If North Carolinians wake up 5 or 10 years from now and the state has higher rates of gun violence, we can point to the repeal of the Pistol Purchase Permitting system as a major reason why.”

HB 398 would repeal North Carolina’s background check requirement on unlicensed handgun sales and make it easy for felons, domestic abusers, and those prohibited based on mental illness to buy handguns in North Carolina. Twenty-one states, including North Carolina, and the District of Columbia have laws requiring a person to pass a criminal background check before buying a handgun from an unlicensed seller. State laws requiring background checks for all handgun sales are associated with lower firearm homicide rates, lower firearm suicide rates, and lower rates of firearm trafficking. When Missouri repealed its purchase permit law requiring background checks, the state experienced an up to 27 percent increase in its firearm homicide rate. Since 1998, more than 80,000 firearm sales to prohibited purchasers have been denied in North Carolina. For more than 100 years, North Carolina has required a background check for all handgun sales through a permit to purchase.

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