Pistol purchase permit law repealed

Published 11:49 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

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RALEIGH – North Carolina residents are no longer required to obtain a permit from their county sheriff in order to legally purchase a pistol.

On Wednesday of last week, both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly were successful in overriding Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 41. That legislation – “Guarantee 2nd Amend Freedom and Protections” – was approved by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. Cooper for his signature on March 16. The Governor vetoed the bill on March 24, but a required three-fifths majority of the NC Senate and NC House vetoed it on March 29.

With that successful veto, Senate Bill 41 immediately became law.

Gates County Sheriff Ray Campbell said he could understand both sides of the debate leading up to the eventual decision to repeal the law.

“It did allow me to know who was making an application to purchase a handgun, which is their legal right to do so as long as the person was of the required age, didn’t have a criminal background, and was of good moral character,” Campbell said.

“My biggest concern with that law was that once an application was approved, the purchase permit is good for five years,” Campbell continued. “A lot can happen in a person’s life during that length of time. What if they had a mental breakdown and then, sometimes before the permit expired, they went and purchased a pistol? The seller would see my name on the permit and think everything is okay. That always concerned me.”

Campbell noted that with the repeal of the old law, the Sheriff’s Office will not have to refund the $5 fee to those who had a pistol purchase permit application pending, but not yet issued, prior to March 29.

Senate Bill 41 eliminates the pistol purchase permitting laws effective immediately regardless of any pending applications at the time of repeal. Additionally, G.S. 14-404(e) requires the submission of a $5 fee at the time of application and the law does not allow this fee to be refunded once the application has been submitted for processing.

Senate Bill 41 has no impact on Concealed Carry permits. Since 1995, North Carolina has allowed qualifying residents of the state to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun from the sheriff of the applicant’s home county. That process still begins by enrolling and passing a concealed carry class from an instructor licensed by the state.

Additionally, the passage of Senate Bill 41 allows those with concealed carry permits to legally carry weapons into churches that also host private schools, as long as school, including extra-curricular activities, isn’t in session.

It should be noted that even though a person no longer needs to obtain a permit from their county sheriff to purchase a pistol, they are still required to undergo a federal background check to buy the weapon from a licensed dealer.

“Criminal penalties still apply for anyone that knowingly transfers a handgun to a person who may not lawfully possess the firearm, such as a convicted felon,” Campbell said. “Therefore, it is important for citizens to remember that anyone wishing to obtain or transfer any firearm, including a handgun, must still comply with federal and state laws governing who may lawfully possess a firearm.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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