Local officials and organizations react to repeal of pistol purchase permit law

Local officials and organizations react to repeal of pistol purchase permit law
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 10:39 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Elected officials are speaking out after lawmakers voted to make it easier to get a handgun in North Carolina.

The General Assembly voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that eliminates the need for a local sheriff to issue a permit.

Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker said he doesn’t think this change will make a difference for our state.

“A lot of people don’t know this. but the same check that we conduct on people that try to buy gun purchase permits the gun dealers are doing the same thing. So it’s really a carbon copy, it happens twice.”

But Sheriff McVicker says gun violence is worse now than it’s ever been.

“We arrest felons now, they’re in possession of a handgun, they aren’t supposed to be and that is a very serious charge. And we make them, I want to say every week, we will have somebody with possession of a firearm, a felon. So, I don’t think the chance of someone obtaining a weapon that shouldn’t have one, I don’t think it will change, I could be wrong, but that’s my personal opinion,” McVicker said.

While Sheriff McVicker thinks the bad guys will get their hands on guns no matter what, State Representative Deb Butler believes gun violence will only get worse.

“This is a particularly tone-deaf moment after the shooting we saw in a school in Tennessee,” Butler said. “This bill specifically speaks about allowing guns on educational property. I, you know, I believe in responsible gun ownership, and this bill was anything but that.”

Butler said the failed compromise for lawmakers on this bill is concerning for the future of our state.

“We tried to add components about safe storage, we tried to add universal background checks. We tried to add extreme violence protection orders to the bill. All of those efforts, those sensible, reasonable, rational elements did not make it into the final bill, which is why the governor vetoed it. And unfortunately, I think we’re going to create a more dangerous North Carolina because of it.”

Click here to read more from our area sheriff’s offices about the repeal.

The National Rifle Association released a statement after the override:

“NRA thanks the Senate leadership of Senator Danny Britt, Senator Warren Daniel, Senator Jim Perry, Senator Phil Berger, and others for fighting to protect the rights of North Carolina’s law-abiding citizens. Also, on the House side, NRA thanks Speaker Tim Moore, Representative Destin Hall, and others for their tireless efforts to advance Second Amendment freedom in the Tar Heel State.

Further, NRA thanks the lawmakers who voted for the veto override and the North Carolina Rifle and Pistol Association for their leadership in ensuring the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens are protected throughout North Carolina.”

NC Attorney General posted a video on social media saying:

“Today’s not a good day, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. The legislature just overrode Governor Cooper’s veto of the pistol permit law. This is a law we have in North Carolina to give sheriffs the ability to do background checks to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals. We need to be taking more measures to reduce gun violence, more background checks, other things like red flag laws to keep us safe because gun violence is on the increase is now the number one cause of death of children in this country, more than car crashes. So, I’m very disappointed. And even though the legislature is failing to do its job to protect the people of North Carolina, I’m going to continue to do everything I can as your Attorney General to keep us safe.”