Skip to content

New Here?

Gun Lobby-Backed North Carolina Lawmakers are Proposing Repealing the Handgun Background Check System. What to Know:

February 13, 2023

Tomorrow, lawmakers in the House and Senate will hold hearings on legislative proposals to repeal the handgun background check law that has been on the books in North Carolina since 1919. The current statute requires a permit before a North Carolinian can legally buy a handgun. The permitting system requires a background check and also allows local sheriffs to deny access to people who they deem a threat to public safety. But now, some gun-industry-backed lawmakers seek to put North Carolinians at risk by repealing this life-saving measure.

Currently, North Carolina’s pistol purchase permit requires that sheriffs conduct a background check before a person purchases a handgun, requiring a review of both federal and state criminal history and mental health records kept by the State’s Administrative Office of the Courts. In addition, the permitting system includes a crucial public safety feature that allows a sheriff to deny a pistol purchase permit based on a person’s recent conduct or criminal history, including acts that indicate a person is a risk of harm to self or others with a handgun.

By repealing the pistol purchase permit system, North Carolina will create a loophole that would allow people to purchase a handgun from an unlicensed seller without a background check. Federal law only requires background checks on gun sales at licensed gun dealers – and does not require background checks on sales between unlicensed parties, making it easy for felons, domestic abusers, and people who can cause harm to themselves or others to obtain firearms from strangers or by purchasing at a gun show.

At a time when communities in North Carolina and across the country have mourned far too many senseless acts of gun violence, it’s incomprehensible that lawmakers are seeking to pass a measure that would put more guns in the hands of people with dangerous histories and exacerbate the gun violence crisis. This bill serves merely to appease the gun lobby and help the bottom line of the gun industry – at the expense of North Carolinians. To keep our communities safe, lawmakers must prioritize passing common-sense gun safety policies that save lives and reject this effort to weaken North Carolina’s gun laws.

If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from North Carolina Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action about our advocacy to defeat these bills, please reach out to [email protected].

If you're a member of the media, please send inquiries to [email protected]