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North Carolina House Judiciary Committee Passes Background Check Repeal Bill; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond

April 20, 2021

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

The North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the North Carolina House Judiciary 4 Committee advanced HB 398, a bill which would repeal North Carolina’s background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales.

“Our background check system saves lives and keeps handguns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them — like convicted felons and domestic abusers,” said Shannon Klug, a volunteer with North Carolina Moms Demand Action and a member of the Everytown Veterans Advisory Council. “But instead of strengthening that system to apply to long guns as well, our lawmakers just advanced a bill that would make it easier for people with dangerous histories to avoid background checks and purchase guns. They must have forgotten that their job is to serve North Carolinians, not the morally and financially bankrupt gun lobby – we’ll stop at nothing to remind them.”

“It seems like we’re always waking up to news of yet another mass shooting in the U.S., let alone the hundreds of shootings every day which don’t make the news,” said Alanna Miller, a volunteer with Duke University Students Demand Action. “Why aren’t our lawmakers responding to this senseless gun violence with action to combat it? Why, instead, are they pushing this dangerous gun lobby bill that could make it worse?”

Polling shows that the policies these bills would repeal are extraordinarily popular among North Carolina voters. 91% of voters support background checks on all gun sales, including 95% of suburban women, while 84% overall support red flags laws, including 91% of suburban women. 64% of voters say they would never vote for a candidate who doesn’t support background checks on all gun sales, and it was the TOP issue among independents by a two-point margin. Voters broadly agree that it is possible to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them while also protecting the rights of gun owners by a near 2:1 margin (65% possible/35% not possible).

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, 80,000 firearm sales to prohibited purchasers have been denied in North Carolina. Each year, the background check system blocks nearly 2,000 illegal sales to convicted felons and nearly 500 illegal sales to domestic abusers.

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