NC House Bill 562 Amend Firearms Laws

House Bill 562 is currently being re-reviewed.  The NC House GOP is counting and firming up votes for this bill.  This House Bill makes many changes.

In its original form, H 562 would simply replace a nearly 100-year-old law that allows sheriffs to use arbitrary, personal discretion when determining who may lawfully purchase a handgun with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  NICS is used in North Carolina for purchases of rifles and shotguns from licensed dealers.  The current antiquated, inefficient law requires law-abiding North Carolina citizens to ask permission from their local sheriff before being allowed to purchase a handgun.  Even if an individual is not prohibited from purchasing a handgun under federal or state law, a sheriff can still deny the request based on the sheriff’s personal belief that the individual is not of “good moral character,” whatever that means.

Furthermore, there is no real uniformity to how this law is implemented, as many sheriff departments operate the system differently.  It is long past time for this system to be repealed, and for North Carolina to join the majority of the country by utilizing NICS for handgun purchases from licensed dealers.

Along with repealing the handgun purchase permit system, the original bill seeks to make a number of important improvements which would:

  • Require the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) of a jurisdiction to certify the transfer or making of a firearm in a timely manner.  This measure had been removed in a previous version, but has been added back to the bill.
  • Clarify the exemption for keeping a firearm in a vehicle by a person with a valid Concealed Handgun Permit while the vehicle is on the property of a public school.
  • Improve the existing Range Protection Law, which would help to protect shooting ranges from new local ordinances designed to shut them down.
  • Improve the issuing process and remove unnecessary disqualifiers for Concealed Handgun Permits.
  • Remove the prohibition on using a lawfully possessed short barreled rifle for hunting.
  • Strengthen North Carolina’s preemption statute.

I am told by reliable sources that this will probably be voted on Wednesday.

UPDATE:

On Tuesday, June 16, the North Carolina House of Representatives gave in to pressure from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) and passed an amendment to House Bill 562, offered by state Representative Allen McNeill (R-78), on a vote of 78-37.  As previously reported, the misguided McNeill Amendment removed the requirement that the outdated Pistol Purchase Permit (PPP) system be replaced with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).   The archaic PPP system is less effective than the NICS system that is ran by the FBI.  (Read this for more information on how ineffective and costly the current PPP system really is). Many legislators who claimed to support the Second Amendment, and had claimed on their NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire that they supported replacing the PPP with NICS, chose instead to side with the NCSA.  Instead of supporting the rights of law-abiding gun owners, they chose to prop up the outdated, inefficient PPP system that allows for the constitutionally protected Right to Keep and Bear Arms to be infringed upon by local elected officials.  Instead of supporting fiscal responsibility and transitioning to NICS (which is federally funded), lawmakers chose to maintain a system that likely costs the state millions of dollars every year.

After abandoning the Second Amendment by passing the McNeill Amendment, the House voted 78-37 to give H 562 Second Reading.  Third Reading is expected to occur on Wednesday.  While H 562 remains a pro-gun bill that contains many improvements to existing statute, replacing the PPP system with NICS remains a top priority for NRA.

Your NRA will continue to work with legislators and educate them on why it is more important to support the Second Amendment, rather than support local elected officials that want to maintain the ability to deny permits to individuals who are not prohibited from purchasing or possessing handguns by law.  We will work with the North Carolina Senate to return the language that replaces the PPP system with NICS.

Please contact your state Representative and voice your appreciation for their vote AGAINST the McNeill Amendment, or voice your disappointment if they voted FOR the McNeill Amendment, a provision that fails to support the Second Amendment rights of North Carolinians. The archaic PPP system is less effective than the NICS system that is ran by the FBI.  (Read this for more information on how ineffective and costly the current PPP system really is).

information above provided by NRA-ILA with some links provided by us to articles by GRNC.

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