Handgun purchase permits: Time to get rid of another unnecessary regulation

RALEIGH – The U.S. Constitution is amended with a Bill of Rights, one of which is the right to bear arms, a right that ‘shall not be infringed.’ Yet while all of these unalienable rights are, in fact, infringed upon by the government, none quite so forcefully as the Second Amendment. You likely know that the Wake County Sheriff recently tried to temprarily suspend the issue of handgun purchase permits due to a huge spike in applications stemming from coronavirus fears, but did you know that North Carolina — the First in Freedom State — is one of only 10 states and the District of Columbia to require pistol purchase permits?

Jon Guze of the John Locke Foundation outlines the recent controversy with the Wake County sheriff, but, more importantly, also demonstrates how unnecessary this rights-violating requirement actually is.

From JLF:

“On March 24, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker announced he was temporarily suspending all pistol permit services until April 30.  State Senators Warren Daniel (R-Burke) and Danny Britt (R-Robeson) were quick to remind him that “state law requires sheriffs to approve or reject a pistol permit within 14 days” and they called on him to “immediately rescind his illegal decision to halt sale of pistols in Wake County.”

Sheriff Baker’s decision soon attracted additional opposition. On March 27, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association sent a message to its members informing them that, “[W]e can find no legal authority authorizing a sheriff to stop processing and issuing [pistol] permits because of a declared state of emergency.”  On the same day, a group of gun-rights advocates filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, asking the court to compel Sheriff Baker to resume processing permits.

As a legal matter, Sheriff Baker’s critics are right. The law requires him to process pistol permit applications within the statutorily prescribed time frame.  The courts agreed.  Earlier this week, Resident Superior Court Judge A. Graham Shirley issued a consent order that required Sheriff Baker to process pistol purchase permits in “as timely a fashion as possible under the current conditions.”  New concealed-carry permit applications were not part of the order.

Personally, I can’t help feeling a certain amount of sympathy for Sheriff Baker. […]”


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