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Senate Commerce Committee to Consider Legislation to Repeal North Carolina’s Law Requiring a Permit to Purchase a Pistol on Tuesday, April 21!

Friday, April 17, 2009

NRA members and other supporters of the Second Amendment must make sure their collective voice is heard!  Please contact members of the Senate Commerce Committee, especially if your Senator is on the Committee, and urge them to support S782!  Contact information for the committee can be found here.

Please also contact your local sheriff and urge him to ask his Association to take either a position of support for S782, or at least be neutral.

S782, introduced by pro-gun State Senator Doug Berger (D-7), is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday, April 21, at 11:00 AM.  This legislation would eliminate the requirement that law-abiding citizens acquire a permit to purchase a pistol from their local sheriff before they may lawfully acquire any pistol.  NRA strongly supports this legislation, and it is our primary legislative objective for this session.  There are numerous problems with this law, both in how it is written, and how it has been implemented.

First, such permits are simply another bureaucratic loop the state requires law-abiding citizens to jump through before exercising our constitutionally protected Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  And why should someone be forced to acquire a permit from a sheriff if they wish to purchase a pistol from a licensed dealer?  The dealer can just as easily run the same background check that is currently run when a rifle or shotgun is purchased.

Second, a permit can be denied if someone fails to prove they are of “good moral character.”  What, exactly, defines “good moral character” is not specifically spelled out under the law, so a sheriff in one county may reject a permit applicant for something he considers to be not of “good moral character,” while a sheriff in another county may not come to the same conclusion.  Uniformity in the exercise of constitutionally protected rights is critical to ensuring rights are not randomly and arbitrarily restricted.  Furthermore, the reasons for denying rights must be carefully spelled out, and of a serious enough nature to warrant such action.

Third, several sheriffs have gone well beyond what the law specifically states, and implemented their own handgun rationing scheme.  Dozens, according to information compiled by the group Grass Roots North Carolina, have set a limit on the number of permits that can be acquired at one time, while more than a dozen go so far as to set a limit on how many permits may be issued in a year.  Some set the standard as low as two permits per year!  Nowhere in the statute that establishes the permit system does it say anything about sheriffs being able to limit the number of pistols a law-abiding citizen may acquire.

Anti-gun extremists are already contacting Senators in opposition to this bill, and they will likely do everything they can to defeat it.  The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association has apparently come out in opposition to the legislation, but NRA has been working with that organization, and will continue to do so, to try to change its position.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.