RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — North Carolina will no longer require anyone buying or selling a handgun to get a pistol purchase permit from their local sheriff’s office, eliminating the sole background check required for private sales.

The North Carolina Senate passed SB 41, the “Guarantee 2nd Amendment Freedom and Protections” bill, on Feb. 16, and the state House passed the bill on March 15, sending it to the governor’s desk. Gov. Roy Cooper issued a veto on March 24 in an attempt to strike down the bill. The state Senate voted to override Cooper’s veto on Tuesday, and the state House followed on Wednesday.

Until now, anyone who wanted to sell, buy or transfer a pistol in North Carolina was required to either have a concealed carry permit or get a pistol purchase permit from the sheriff’s office in the home county of the person buying or receiving the gun, per General Statute 14-402. Pistol purchase permit applications required the payment of a $5 application fee.

Now, with the passing of this bill, the state no longer requires a permit to sell, buy or transfer a handgun.

Licensed firearm dealers are required to run a federal background check, and the repeal of this law does not change that. But, when it comes to private sales and exchanges, the permit was the only requirement. Repealing that permit requirement means that private handgun sales and transfers will no longer necessitate a background check.

Sheriffs’ offices will not be issuing refunds for any fees already paid for pistol purchase permit applications.

Any permits that were still pending will not be processed as those permits are no longer necessary.

You can read the full text of the bill below or keep scrolling for answers to some common questions.

Does this mean there are no background checks on handgun sales?

It depends.

Anyone who is looking to buy a handgun from a firearms dealer still has to go through a criminal background check via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. If a criminal search history indicates that the buyer is disqualified from owning a firearm, that sale will be denied. This, however, only applies to sales through firearms dealers.

NICS criminal background checks are not required for private transfers of handguns.

All that said, anyone who knowingly transfers a handgun to a person who may not lawfully possess the firearm will face criminal penalties.

It’s worth noting that, prior to this bill, long gun transfers did not require a pistol purchase permit and did not go through the sheriff’s office. This new law aligns the requirements for handgun sales to be closer to those already in place for long gun sales.

Does this impact concealed handgun permits?

No. Sheriffs will continue to process concealed handgun permit applications as they have been. This law does not impact concealed handgun permits.

Everything else this new law changes

Handguns in religious spaces with schools

Per North Carolina law, you can only have a gun on school property if you have a concealed handgun permit (or are exempt from needing a concealed handgun permit) and the handgun is either concealed on a person in a locked vehicle or in a closed compartment in a locked vehicle.

Effective Dec. 1, 2023, people with concealed handgun permits will be allowed to have concealed handguns on property that is both educational and for religious worship so long as the property is not owned by a local board of education or the county and a couple of other specific conditions are met. It must be outside of school operating hours, and the property must not have any notice banning concealed handguns. Concealed handguns are not permitted in these locations during school operating hours or if there is a notice banning concealed handguns.

Law enforcement employees who are not sworn officers

Someone who works at a law enforcement facility in a role other than as a sworn officer and has a concealed handgun permit can bring their concealed handgun to law enforcement facilities so long as they have approval from the head of the law enforcement agency who is in charge of that facility and they have that written proof of approval with them. This part of the law goes into effect on July 1, 2023.

Launching a Firearm Safe Storage Awareness Initiative

Beginning July 1, 2023, the Department of Public Safety and Department of Health and Human Services and Wildlife Resources Commission will be tasked with launching a Firearm Safe Storage Awareness Initiative.

This will be a two-year initiative “to educate the public about the importance of the safe storage of firearms and to facilitate the distribution of gun locks.”

As part of this initiative, organizers will set up a website and a toolkit of information for communities to launch safe storage initiatives at the local level. These are planned to launch before July 1, 2024.

The website should include contact info to obtain free gunlocks if available. The toolkit should provide materials and resources for local groups focused on firearm safe storage and the distribution of free or discounted gun locks.

Once those are launched, organizers will develop an outreach process to get the information out.

There is no reference to how this initiative will be funded.