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Ending the Jim Crow era pistol permit is long overdue

The pistol permit law in North Carolina is a Jim Crow relic. A holdover from the early 20th century, 1919 to be exact, and similar laws have been repealed in every other Southern state. Reason called the pistol permit process the “Klan’s Favorite Law.” The entire piece offers a comprehensive look at racist gun control laws in the American South.

There are new bills on the House and Senate side to repeal it. Gov. Roy Cooper likes the law but it’s a hard one to defend given its racist history. There are other problems. I’ve written extensively about how North Carolina is falling behind other states when it comes to Second Amendment protections. This law’s existence is another prime example. Many new residents are shocked to find out when they move to North Carolina that the state still has this archaic and racist law. Not only can’t lawmakers pass constitutional carry, but they also can’t even repeal the pistol permit process. Why are we adding undue burdens on the populace when we already have federal background checks. It’s embarrassing and it needs immediate repeal.

Below is a statement from the NRA-ILA that adds some more reasons to repeal the senseless permit process:

On April 7th, Senate Bill 687 was filed, to legalize acquiring handguns without having to first apply for a permit. It is currently in the Committee On Rules and Operations of the Senate for consideration.

Senate Bill 687 repeals the statute that requires law-abiding citizens to obtain pistol purchase permits to acquire handguns. The pistol purchase permit was created before modern, computerized background checks existed. The federal NICS checks that licensed firearms dealers conduct are often completed in minutes. This relic that is the pistol purchase permit now only serves as a time barrier, an unnecessary fee, and a general inconvenience to the exercise of the Second Amendment.

The need for such a reform was made quite clear last year when the Wake County Sheriff’s Office announced that they would suspend processing pistol purchase permits for at least a month in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, which coincided with many citizens around the country seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights for the first time. The prospective new gun owners of Wake County would have been left unable to obtain handguns for that duration, even if friends or family wished to loan or gift one to them. Fortunately, the sheriff reversed course after a few days and resumed processing permits. SB 687 will ensure that this cannot happen again.

Ray Nothstine / Opinion Editor, Carolina Journal

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor at Carolina Journal. He previously served for over seven years as managing editor of Religion & Liberty, a publication of the Acton Institu...