The North Carolina House narrowly passed out of committee a bill that would make significant changes to the state’s gun laws.
The measure would end the state’s pistol permit system in 2021. Supporters and opponents are arguing about the impact it will have on background checks in the state.
“It could have been a little bit stronger,” said Paul Valone of Grass Roots NC. “But, by and large, it’s a good bill.”
Becky Ceartas, executive director of North Carolinians against Gun Violence, said, “It weakens our background check system by not allowing private sales to undergo a background check.”
The bill is being called the Second Amendment Affirmation Act. It came before the House Rules Committee before a packed audience.
By ending North Carolina’s pistol permit system, it would require people who buy from licensed firearms dealers to get a federal background check at that point, rather than a permit from a sheriff.
Kim Yaman, who witnessed a mass shooting, said, “Every time that there is a new mass shooting, I’m taken back, right back there.”
She witnessed five people being murdered in Iowa in 1991 and spoke against the bill.
“I’m encouraged that it was such a close vote, that it was a tie vote and that also so many questions were brought forward about public safety,” Yaman said.
The Vote was a tie, and House Rules Chair David Lewis cast the final vote to move the bill forward.
Valone said, “Many of the these people are being denied for the most arbitrary reasons, reasons even though they are perfectly qualified under state and federal law to own these firearms. We want to make sure people have the ability to protect themselves. That is our primary goal.”
Ceartas said, “We are in favor of the Second Amendement. We don’t think this limits law-abiding citizens from a right to carry a gun. But it does expand it into places where it doesn’t need to be.”
The bill also would allow lawmakers and legislative staff members to carry concealed handguns inside the legislature.
The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association and Gov. Pat McCrory have expressed concern about the bill, which now moves to the House floor.