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

May 6, 2021

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 advanced HB 398, a bill which would repeal North Carolina’s background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales.

“Keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them should be at the top of our lawmakers’ agendas – instead, they just passed a bill that will make it easier for domestic abusers and people with dangerous histories to purchase firearms with no background check and no questions asked,” said Shannon Klug, a volunteer with North Carolina Moms Demand Action and a member of the Everytown Veterans Advisory Council. “Our system stops around 2,000 illegal sales every year to convicted felons and nearly 500 more illegal sales to domestic abusers. This is something I thought we could all agree is a good thing.”

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 When Missouri repealed its purchase permit law requiring background checks, the state experienced an up to 27 percent increase in its firearm homicide rate.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. 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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