In a 30-19 vote on Tuesday by the North Carolina Senate and a 71 to 46 vote in the House on Wednesday, the general assembly voted to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 41, a bill that repeals NC gun laws that required pistol permits and will now allow weapons on school grounds for certain events.
Wednesday’s veto is the first time state lawmakers have been able to successfully override a veto from the Governor since 2018, the last time Republicans held a supermajority. Wednesday’s successful vote was made possible when three House Democrats were not present for the vote. bsences from Reps. Cecil Brockman of Guilford County, Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County and Michael Wray of Halifax County meant that Republicans only needed 71 votes to override the veto, not 72.
“Eliminating strong background checks will allow more domestic abusers and other dangerous people to own handguns and reduces law enforcement’s ability to stop them from committing violent crimes. Second Amendment supporting, responsible gun owners know this will put families and communities at risk,” Cooper said in a statement Friday.
By repealing the law, North Carolinians will no longer need a pistol permit from the local Sheriff’s Office. It is important to note, that is the only safeguard that was removed with the passage of the bill. Those purchasing firearms will still need a federal background check to buy from a licensed dealer, meaning handgun purchases in North Carolina will now be treated the same as rifles and shotguns.
The North Carolina permit system originates in 1905 when state lawmakers were looking at how local governments could enact restrictions on the sale of firearms, however, it did not become a statewide mandate until 1919. At inception, the law required anyone transferring a pistol to obtain a license or permit from the clerk of Superior Court.
The 1919 law required that the clerk of superior court find that the permit applicant possessed good moral character and desired to acquire the pistol for protection of their home — the law that was repealed today also stated the Sheriff must fine applicants to be of “good moral character.”
According to a statement released by the National Rifle Association, “Law-abiding residents should not have to ask the government for permission to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” the group said while stating they believed the permitting process served no public service.
The most significant issue now that local sheriffs are no longer required to review purchase permits is concern regarding applicants facing domestic violence court cases. Legally, people with domestic violence protective orders filed against them, cannot get a permit from the sheriff’s office. It is likely the sheriff’s office would be familiar with such individuals on a local level, as domestic violence protective orders are not necessarily always picked up through a national background check done by a gun dealer.
While the bill repeals the state’s current laws regarding pistol permits, it also creates a safe firearm storage awareness campaign meant to educate the public and boost distribution of gun locks. The program will run for 2 years and focus on guns storage safety and distributing gun locks.
The bill also includes a new exception allowing people to bring guns to religious services held on private school property. The change only allows guns during religious meetings, outside of regular school hours.