Everytown has recently begun to play the following ad on TV here in NC:
The trouble with the ad is that they aren’t being completely honest about background checks. The ad makes it seem that if HB562 were to pass, there would no longer be any background checks for handgun purchases in NC. Unfortunately for Everytown, background checks for purchasing a handgun from a dealer is a federal law, which isn’t affected by the North Carolina HB562.
So… What are they talking about then?
Currently, to buy a handgun from a dealer in North Carolina one must apply for a Pistol Purchase Permit from their county Sheriff. The Sheriff will charge about $5 for the permit, and generally issues the permit which is valid for 5 years in about a week. Seems reasonable, but there’s an ugly part of this law, in that the Sheriff can deny someone a Pistol Purchase Permit based on their moral character (which is code for giving the Sheriff the power to deny pistol ownership to whoever he wants, for whatever reason he wants). This is an old, racist, Jim Crow law that needs to go away.
How Will Background Checks Be Conducted if HB562 is Passed into Law?
Currently the PPP is valid for 5 years, so someone can buy a handgun today, based on a background check that was completed nearly 5 years ago. If the PPPs are eliminated, North Carolina gun dealers will begin to use the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) just like most other states in the country. In this case, the gun dealer calls into the NICS center, and they complete an instant background check right at the time the pistol is being sold.
In a nutshell, if HB562 is passed into law, North Carolinians will be subject to more accurate background checks when purchasing a handgun from a dealer, Sheriffs won’t be able to deny people their right to own a handgun without due process, and we’ll all feel better knowing one less Jim Crow law is on the books.