Controversial gun permit bill moves closer to Governor's desk - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Controversial gun permit bill moves closer to Governor's desk

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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says he is outraged over a proposal making its way through the General Assembly that would allow you to buy a handgun without a permit from your local sheriff's office.

Senators added the controversial language into House Bill 937 earlier this month, and as the legislative session draws to a close, Cooper says he is stepping up his disapproval of the measure.

"It's not good for public safety just to eliminate this permit process," Cooper told WBTV. "While federal background checks apply to those purchasing handguns and other weapons from federally licensed gun dealers, the pistol permit program applies to all individual buyers at gun shows or anywhere else."

Currently, in North Carolina you must have a permit from your local sheriff's office to own a handgun. The permits are good for five years. South Carolina does not require the same permit. WBTV spoke to local gun advocates about the proposed legislation.

"It is a little bit of a hassle. People have to take off work to go down there," said Hyatt Gun and Coin owner Larry Hyatt describing the permit process.

Hyatt says he wants all background checks on his customers done in his store. Hyatt is pushing for an FBI sponsored instant background check called NICS. North Carolina retailers do not use NICS for handgun background checks. Hyatt wants that to change immediately, and says the five year duration of the permit is what concerns him the most.

"We don't know if that person did something wrong from the time they got the permit to the time they come in here," he said.

Meanwhile, Cooper says he will continue to push for the process to remain the same. The North Carolina Sheriff's Association has also sided with Cooper.

"I think it's important to have this process in place, so that the sheriff can keep track of these people. They have a better chance of tracing guns after they've been purchased," Cooper said.

While federal background checks apply to those purchasing handguns from federally licensed gun dealers, buyers from anyone else would no longer undergo the pistol permit background check if HB 937 becomes law.

House lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure within the next week. It would then go to Governor Pat McCrory where he would sign or veto the bill.

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