2A groups celebrate repeal of North Carolina's pistol purchase permit law

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

North Carolina is a rare southern state that has a requirement for a permit to purchase something other than an NFA firearm. For them, you need a permit to buy a handgun, and that permit has a “good moral character” clause that was designed to keep black North Carolinians from buying them in the first place.


The state legislature passed a bill repealing the permits. That was the good news.

The bad news is the governor decided to veto the bill.

In a lot of cases, that’s all she wrote.

That’s not the case in North Carolina, though. As Cam reported earlier today, lawmakers have now overturned the governor’s veto, rejecting the arguments from many Democrats who used the events in Nashville to try and justify letting the veto stand. What they don’t get is that the shooter there and shooters in numerous other mass shootings had nothing that would have disqualified them from buying the guns in question.

The permit-to-purchase requirement isn’t about keeping guns out of the wrong hands. It’s about putting another layer of infringement on the ability to buy a firearm.

With repeal secured, gun owners and Second Amendment groups are cheering. Here’s what Gun Owners of America said shortly after the House vote.

Today, Gun Owners of America celebrates the repeal of North Carolina’s racist, century old Pistol Purchase Permit requirements, which was passed via a veto override in the General Assembly. This legislation also closes the “church carry” loophole, which eliminates the prohibition of firearms in churches with private schools.

The General Assembly first passed the repeal in a bipartisan fashion on March 15th, and despite a subsequent veto by anti-gun Governor Roy Cooper, the margins were too strong in the legislature to sustain the veto.

Erich Pratt, GOA’s Senior Vice President, issued the following statement: 

“This has been a long fight in North Carolina, and GOA is so proud to see our efforts finally pay off. Our organization is dedicated to both preserving and restoring Americans’ Second Amendment rights, and the repeal of these laws cuts red tape, empowers members of the faith to defend themselves, and ends a discriminatory blot from the state’s history.” 

Jordan Stein, GOA’s Southeast Region Director, added: 

“We are so proud to have played a part in this tremendous victory. Just like we predicted, the legislature was fully prepared to override an anti-gun veto from Governor Cooper. With this repeal, citizens of our state will no longer have to seek permission from local law enforcement in advance of purchasing a handgun to exercise their Second Amendment rights, and just as importantly, houses of worship will no longer remain soft targets just because they operate a school on their premises. We also cannot thank the numerous dedicated lawmakers who we have worked with for years now on this repeal, whose commitment to restoring the rights of their citizens has finally prevailed.” 


NRA-ILA also released a statement praising the override and slamming Cooper for his veto:

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.

Gov. Cooper’s veto has shown law-abiding gun owners another reason why they must always be ready to vote to elect officials who will work to protect their rights.

North Carolina 2A group Grassroots NC also weighed in shortly after the final vote in the House, with executive director Paul Valone calling it an historic day for gun owners.

Grass Roots North Carolina and gun rights supporters made history today. Senate Bill 41 cleared its final hurdle and will become law after both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly voted to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto. SB 41 is the first override of a Cooper veto since 2018 and the first-ever override of a vetoed gun bill in North Carolina.

Valone noted that the override was successful despite one of its Democratic supporters reversing course.

It should be noted that Rep. Michael Wray (D- Halifax, Northampton, Warren), who was a co-sponsor of a similar bill and had voted for SB 41 the first time, apparently did not vote. It is not clear whether that was due to a deal with Republicans, or whether he sold out Second Amendment supporters. However, Rep. Shelly Willingham (D-Bertie, Edgecombe, Martin), who voted for SB 41 last time, reneged on his public statement that he would not change his position on the override. By voting “no” on the SB 41 override, he clearly betrayed gun rights supporters. Also unknown as of this writing is whether the other three Democrats who did not vote were present in the chamber.


That backtracking by Willingham is shameful, even if it didn’t have an impact on the veto override itself.

This was an archaic requirement rooted not in concern about homicides but in protecting racist jackwagons who planned on targeting black men and women who had the temerity not to accept being second-class citizens. That’s all it was about, and I find it laughable that the same people who support tearing down anything that smacks of a time before the Civil Rights Era would uphold one of the worst examples of that time.

North Carolina was right to override the veto. They don’t need laws like this on the books. No one does. It’s well past time to send this law to the dustbin of history so folks there can exercise their right to keep and bear arms without having to ask the county sheriff, “Mother, may I?”

We wouldn’t tolerate that for any other right, so there’s no reason to accept it in this instance.

Nashville doesn’t change that fact, either.


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