BENSON, N.C. (WNCN) – Ben Sinquefield spent part of his morning applying for a pistol permit at the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office — deciding to do so after President Barack Obama outlined his executive actions.
“I watched his presentation,” Sinquefield said. “Some things I agree with, yes. Background checks, yes. Everyone should go through it. But don’t push it too far, don’t overstep your boundaries.”
The North Carolina permitting process requires local sheriffs to conduct a background check before approving your right to carry or purchase a gun. But guys like Sinquefield worry that the president won’t stop with improved background checks.
“I’m just worried about how far he’ll take it,” Sinquefield said. “I have no criminal background. But it worries me what his next step is going to be.”
Charles Perdue is going to help his wife buy a gun for her protection and he agreed with the president’s background check changes. But he said the penalties for gun violations are too weak.
“I’ll go along with him,” he said of Obama’s plan. “But they aren’t doing enough to make the law stiffer on people who don’t.”
Since November of 1998, the FBI has run the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is used by federal firearms licensees to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms.
FBI statistics from that program indicate a big spike in checks here in North Carolina for December compared to the three previous months.
Those stats show:
In September, October and November of 2015, the FBI averaged between 42,000 and 49,000 instant checks in North Carolina… But last month, that number jumped to 76,441 instant background checks here.
Sheriff Donnie Harrison of Wake County said the current federal laws aren’t as effective as the local checks.
“They don’t go as in-depth as we do – at least, we don’t feel like they do,” Harrison said.
Harrison said authorities need to be a better job of weeding out those with mental health issues.
“In the mental health field, there’s always room for improvement,” Harrison said.
The sheriff also said the United States needs to do better in enforcing the gun laws already in place. He said if those laws were better enforced, the country could take a lot more guns out of the hands of the wrong people.