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North Carolina Assembly Passes Dangerous Legislation to Repeal Background Checks on Handguns; Moms Demand Action, Student Demand Action Respond

February 22, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action released the following statement after the North Carolina Assembly followed the Senate and voted to advance HB50 — a dangerous piece of legislation that would repeal the state’s background check requirement which has been on the books in North Carolina since 1919, and which requires a person to obtain a permit before they can legally buy a handgun. The permitting system also provides local sheriffs with authority to deny permits to people who would pose a threat to public safety with a handgun.

“Today’s vote is simply shameful,” said Carey Rudell, a volunteer with the North Carolina Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our current life-saving background check system has helped make North Carolina communities safer. This bill would open a loophole in our gun laws that would make it easy for convicted felons, domestic abusers, and gun traffickers to get handguns without a background check. North Carolina deserves lawmakers who put our safety first, not the gun industry’s interests. We look forward to working with Governor Cooper to find solutions that put North Carolina first.”

Those voting in favor of repealing the pistol purchase permit system misleadingly argued that federal officials will still conduct background checks—but that’s only true for sales from licensed dealers — if repealed, the state would create a loophole between state and federal gun laws where a person would be able to purchase firearms at gun shows or from strangers they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 could result in higher rates of gun violence and incidents 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]

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