The North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action issued the following statement after the Senate rejected common-sense gun safety policies, while voting to advance SB 41, a bill to repeal background checks on handgun sales, including unlicensed sales at gun shows and sales advertised online.
“The Senate’s actions today are a shameful disregard for the well-being of North Carolinian families,” said Leah Krevat, a volunteer with the North Carolina Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “At a time where Americans throughout the country are mourning loved ones taken by senseless gun violence, North Carolina should be working to prevent the next tragedy, not cause it. As some lawmakers continue to prioritize the gun lobby’s interests, we remind them that as constituents, we won’t back down from the fight to eradicate gun violence.”
In the hearing, Republicans rejected amendments to the bill that would have mandated gun purchasers obtain a background check before buying firearms from unlicensed sellers, strengthened the state’s secure storage law, and created an Extreme Risk law — which if adopted would have allowed law enforcement and loved ones to petition a court to temporarily prevent a person in a crisis from accessing firearms.
In the meantime, the Senate advanced a bill to repeal the pistol purchase permit and the handgun background check law which has been on the books in North Carolina since 1919. Currently, the life-saving law provides sheriffs with authority to deny permits to people who could be a threat to public safety, including those who would pose a risk of harm to self or others with a handgun. Proponents of repealing the pistol purchase permit system have misleadingly argued that the federal officials will still conduct background checks — but that’s only true for sales from licensed dealers — if repealed, the state would be creating a loophole between state and federal gun laws where a person would be able to purchase firearms at gun shows or from strangers they meet online with no background check, and no questions asked.
For decades North Carolina has enjoyed the results of relatively strong gun laws, however this effort by lawmakers may result in higher rates of gun violence and incidents we have not seen in the past century in the state. In an average year, 1,588 people die by guns in North Carolina, and 3,530 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in North Carolina. More information on gun violence in North Carolina is available here.
To speak to a North Carolina volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please reach out to [email protected].