Reaction as NC House passes bill to revoke the state’s pistol purchase permit law

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – North Carolina gun laws could be changing after North Carolina House Republicans advanced a new bill.

“Currently when a person wants to purchase a firearm or a handgun rather, they will come to here to the sheriff’s office or either go on our website and fill out a purchase application form. Then our staff will run the appropriate background checks and check our internal records,” says Onslow County Sheriff, Chris Thomas.

The legislation, passed in a party-line vote, would do away with that.

Thomas says, “I believe law-abiding citizens have the right to bear arms just like the 2nd Amendment states and I don’t believe there needs to be a lot of barriers to that.”

Though Thomas believes the bill reflects basic 2nd Amendment rights, there are still concerns on both sides of the aisle.

Thomas says, “The only concern I have is about individuals that might have a local record with a local agency that may have some mental issues that the sheriff’s office may be aware of that could be a disqualifier.”

The North Carolina Democratic party states that as gun violence is at an all-time high, background checks need to be strengthened.

Despite the concerns, Thomas is encouraged by looking at states who already operate without pistol purchase permits.

“Just a casual look at the states that already do this, I don’t see an uptick in any violence or any dramatic change in violence.”

The bill would also allow people in a church to carry a concealed gun during a worship service given certain conditions are met. Those conditions are that it is on private property, not during school hours, with no students present for activities and the property doesn’t have a “no guns allowed” sign.

In 2021, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the bill as it has been a long upheld law in North Carolina since 1919.