Raleigh, N.C. — A front-page report in The New York Times on Tuesday highlighted problems with North Carolina's system for concealed weapons permits.
North Carolina does a pretty good job of screening people who apply for concealed weapons permits, but it does a poor job of keeping track of permit holders who later commit crimes, according to the report.
The newspaper compared the state's database of concealed handgun permits issued over the last five years with court records from the same time. Out of about 240,000 people licensed to carry concealed weapons, about 2,400 were convicted of crimes that should have resulted in revocation of the permits.
State law generally prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from owning a gun, and anyone convicted of assault or other violent misdemeanors isn't supposed to be allowed to carry a concealed weapon.
The newspaper found, however, that about half the people convicted of felonies were allowed to keep their permits. That's a problem, because the permit allows someone to buy a gun without a criminal background check.
Local officials statewide also failed to revoke the permits of nearly two-thirds of people convicted of domestic violence charges, according to the investigation.
North Carolina doesn't have a system in place to check whether a criminal has a concealed handgun permit or to notify a local sheriff to revoke someone's permit.
Gun-rights advocates point out that only 1 percent of people with concealed weapon permits committed crimes, according to the newspaper's investigation, which they said is a lower crime rate than the general public.
Gun-control supporters said the rate should be lower among permit holders because they are people the state has trusted to carry deadly weapons. The groups say they want a centralized system to track and revoke the permits of people who commit crimes.
State lawmakers this year expanded the rights of gun owners, allowing concealed weapons in more places, including parks.