(WGHP) — Instead of waiting weeks to buy a handgun in North Carolina, you can now have one in your hands in minutes.
North Carolina’s General Assembly moved forward with a bill getting rid of the pistol permit process, meaning there’s no local background check to purchase or transfer ownership of a handgun.
“When you had to go before a sheriff, you had to pay a fee, wait an amount of time, basically ask permission to get a permit from the sheriff. I think that was an infringement on the Second Amendment,” said Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County.
The gun permit change is something Sheriff Page fought years for.
“With the pistol permitting process going away, that will allow my staff to do some other things because, as a sheriff’s office, we do a lot,” Page said.
Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers was not able to go on camera, but a spokesperson for him shared he does not agree with the decision and believes it’s a threat to public safety.
He worries people who have the potential for violent behavior won’t be flagged.
“There’s a moral character clause that if you see a trend within the past five years, we can deny them,” said Captain Marcus Moore with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
The bill does not change the concealed carry permitting process.
It does get rid of the permit process for private transfers. The seller of the gun is criminally responsible if they give it to someone who shouldn’t have it.
As a retailer, Terry Hill isn’t sure how this change will play out.
“Sounds good. All my customers would love that…then I had to think about me as a retailer,” said Hill, owner of Guns and More in Thomasville.
As of Wednesday, it’s Hill’s responsibility to run a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or NICS.
In minutes, he will get an alert saying approved, denied or delayed.
If it’s delayed, he could wait around five days for more information from the system. After that, it’s up to him to decide whether to give the customer the gun or not. It’s a decision he doesn’t want to take on.
“I have to stick my neck out. The thing they don’t understand is how far I have to stick my neck out for you,” Hill said.
Hill reached out to his local sheriff’s office for guidance on what to do in this situation.
He’s also curious to know if the rules have changed on the number of handguns he can sell at one time.
An important piece of this bill multiple sheriffs and retailers emphasized to FOX8 is the locking and proper storage of handguns and more money devoted to education and access.