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Gun bill on hold amid growing opposition

Posted May 5, 2015

— A controversial proposal to loosen North Carolina's gun laws has been temporarily put on hold as criticism of the bill grows louder.

House Bill 562, the "Second Amendment Affirmation Act," was pulled by sponsor Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, R-Mecklenburg, from a scheduled committee hearing Wednesday morning. Schaffer didn't respond to WRAL News inquiries seeking the reason for the delay.

The version of the bill that emerged from the House Rules Committee last week included a provision that would repeal the requirement for a state criminal background check for private handgun sales.

Supporters of the bill say federal background checks would still be in place, but federal law covers only sales from licensed gun dealers. Up to 40 percent of handgun sales are conducted between individuals, and the state check is currently the only background check for those sales.

North Carolina sheriffs are in charge of issuing those permits and have latitude – too much latitude, according to gun advocates – to deny permits if they believe the applicant is unfit to own a handgun and may pose a danger to self or others.

Sheriffs have expressed concern about repealing the state pistol permit. On Tuesday, a state chapter of a national gun-control group also lobbied lawmakers to oppose the bill.

"This law has been the important backbone of public safety in here North Carolina, keeping guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers and the severely mentally ill," said Sarah Green of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.

Green said U.S. Department of Justice data show that women in the 18 states that currently require state handgun permits are 46 percent less likely to be shot to death by an intimate partner and law enforcement officers are 48 percent less likely to be shot with a handgun.

A poll conducted for Green's group last month by SurveyUSA found 87 percent of likely North Carolina voters "support" or "strongly support" criminal background checks for all gun sales. That support is consistent across political and geographic lines.

Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, said at the news conference that the bill "is not the Second Amendment Affirmation Act as it is claimed to be. This is Second Amendment insanity."

Bill supporters say the change would bring the state into line with the 32 others that do not require state background checks.

45 Comments

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  • Dwight Maxwell Jun 4, 2015
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    Do you not actually know what the Jim crow laws were or why they were put into effect? It is obvious that you don't. They were race bases laws. That should have been taken off the books decades ago. BTW guns are not a health issue. The users of guns with mental problems is. Lets stop bothering people that are law abiding citizens and start working on people with the mental health issues. Then we may solve a lot of the problems we have in this country.

  • Dwight Maxwell Jun 4, 2015
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    Okay you people do not know what you are talking about! The bill moves the criminal background check to the point of sale, Rather than by the Sheriffs department, using the exact same process, through the FBI background check system. It in reality makes us safer. When you go to the sheriffs department and get a purchase permit it is good for 5 years. If you don't use that permit, then 2 years later get convicted for domestic violence. you still have your permit you can go buy a gun. under the new law you are checked at the point of sale where a criminal offense will be caught keeping the guns out of the bad guys hands. It is ashamed that you cannot see a good thing if it bit you in the face. The majority of the states in America use the system that HB562 is introducing. Why do you all want to stand behind a law that went into effect over 100 years ago, to prevent people of other races from buying a gun?

  • Jim Hinnant May 11, 2015
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    There is obvious fear in your statements, and that’s understandable watching the news which sensationalizes everything. Keep in mind that it is not the gun but the individual who has possession that instigates the problem. I take your comment about teens buying a gun easier than buying a Coke an exaggeration resulting from fear. This bill does NOT do away with the background check as you stated. It removes the hold-over process that allows a sheriff to infringe on the rights of an individual. The bill does NOT allow just anybody to buy a gun. There is still a background check required at the store as there is for buying a rifle or shotgun. Finally, restrictions and limitations do not make your community safer. Having guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens does. I see several reports daily across the US that show where a law-abiding citizens who were armed prevented harm to themselves or others. You won't see that on WRAL.

  • Jim Hinnant May 11, 2015
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    Doctors could still consult the patient without making it an inquiry about their current possession of guns. For example, the doctor could state, “If you own a gun, you should let someone you trust hold it while you’re on this medication.” There’s no need for the doctor to ask if one owns a gun. Asking the question makes it part of the patient record, and that has the potential for back-door registration.

  • Jim Hinnant May 11, 2015
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    No, criminals could still not pass the required background check at the store.

  • Rob Edwards May 6, 2015
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    More biased reporting from WRAL.

  • Ken Soderstrom May 6, 2015
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    The pistol permit system currently in place in NC is a hold-over from Jim Crow laws designed to disarm black citizens.

    Is the left so blinded by hatred of the right to bear arms that they won't allow elimination of outdated, unconstitutional and clearly racist laws?

  • Rob Edwards May 6, 2015
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    There are way more deaths caused every year from medical mistakes than from guns, on the order of 10 times more.

  • Matt Wood May 6, 2015
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    Lots of people die every day from guns. How is something that kills so many people not a public health issue? Something that can kill you is a health issue! Doctors are responsible for the health of their patients, of COURSE they should be able to consult patients on whether it is safe to own/use a gun when taking certain medications, experiencing depression or other mental health issues, etc. A doctor's job is to preserve the health of their patient, and they absolutely should know if their patient might harm themselves or others.

  • Matt Wood May 6, 2015
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    Can you provide an UNBIASED source for such Jim Crow claims, or do you just believe the biased source noted in Wikipedia?

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