NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The debate over gun control has returned to the national stage, so WECT.com set out to learn what it takes for a North Carolina resident to own a gun.
Not all guns are created equal, according to the state and federal governments that regulate them. Rick Wright, with Shooter's Choice, explained that there is a different process for folks wanting a handgun and anyone taking aim at a long range gun (think rifle or shotgun).
Before a handgun is sold, the interested buyer has to obtain a purchase permit from the local sheriff's office. According to General Statute 14‑415.13, that process includes the following:
Wright said the process typically takes 7 – 10 days before someone can be approved. A Concealed Carry permit is additional process that includes more background checks and an estimated three-month wait time.
"It's not like it's somebody walking the street and ‘Here, somebody take this gun'," said Wrights. "It's not happening that way."
The process is different for anyone interested in the other guns in stock.
At checkout, a buyer must present a valid, government-issued ID with a second proof of residency that has a current address. Wright said from there his employees call up FBI staff to run some background checks on the individual. The buyer can be approved or denied instantly with no reason as to why. A third option, which delays the sale, gives the bureau three days to research a little more. Wright said If the individual is not denied by then, he is automatically approved.
Approved or not, the final check comes from the sales staff.
"We don't have to sell a gun to anybody," said Wright. "It's not an everyday occasion but sometimes they'll come to me and say ‘look something just doesn't add up here'."
He admits that the scenario is uncommon. Wright said most customers are like Pamela Roach, who bought her second gun Monday night. Her new firearm holds more ammunition and has a laser sight added on to it. Roach said it's a matter of protection.
"I can walk the streets at night and I can close my doors at my business at night and not be scared," she said.
She owns the gun and Shooter's Choice makes sure that Roach knows how to use it properly. Staff offers instructions for anyone needing some guidance.
"The courses really teach you everything about how to protect yourself," Roach said. "Because you could hurt yourself or even hurt somebody else."
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