House Bill 588 eliminates many of the critical safety provisions that currently protect North Carolinians from gun violence. The two most egregious provisions are:
1) Elimination of the pistol purchase permitting system
- The pistol purchase permitting system (PPP) requires common-sense criminal background checks for buying any handgun, no matter where you buy it.
- While a federal background check system exists, it only applies to guns bought at federally licensed sellers. So, criminals and the seriously mentally ill can avoid this background check by using unlicensed sellers. That’s why the PPP is so important—it extends protections to guns sold by private sellers, which accounts for 22% of gun sales. 1
- On Armslist.com, more than 25,000 guns are privately sold each year to felons and other prohibited criminals—and more than 1 in 30 buyers have prohibiting criminal records. 2
- When other states have eliminated their PPP, there have been disastrous results. For example, after Missouri repealed its background check requirement in 2007, 68 more people were shot to death per year. 3
- If the PPP is eliminated, violent criminals and the severely mentally ill could be able to buy guns online, from strangers, or from private dealers with no questions asked.
2) The ability to carry guns on school campuses
- HB 588 would allow individuals to carry concealed weapons on school campuses, but research shows that this practice does not increase safety, and in fact, can lead to dangerous consequences.
- There is no statistical evidence that crime rates have decreased on public campuses in Colorado and Utah, states that have passed campus carry bills. In fact, crime may have gone up—since Colorado allowed campus carry in 2012, the rate of rape has increased from 25% in 2012 to 36% in 2013. 4
- Armed individuals with little or no training pose serious risks on campuses. Concealed carry weapon holders are not necessarily well trained, and they may never have even handled a firearm.
- Accidental shootings are a major risk when guns are allowed in schools. At least six accidental shootings by concealed carry permit holders have been reported on K-12 and university campuses, resulting in injuries and chaos. 5
- Suicides and all manner or injurious accidents are likelier to happen on college campuses than crime, and guns will only exacerbate this problem. Health researchers have consistently concluded that not having firearms available on campus is the single biggest factor in explaining why more suicides do not occur among on-campus students, as compared to all college-aged youth. 6
- Public opinion is strongly against guns on campus: 94% of Americans answered no when asked, “Do you think regular citizens should be allowed to bring their guns onto college campuses?” 7
2 Mayors Against Illegal guns Felon Seeks Firearm, No Strings Attached, http://bit.ly/1y5gGYE
3 Webster et al, “Erratum To: Effects of the Repeal of Missouri’s Handgun Purchaser Licensing Law…” J Urban Health 91, no. 3.
4 IACLEA, Concealed Carrying of Firearms Proposals on College Campuses
5 Crime Research Prevention Center, Accidental Shootings on K12 and University Property by Permit Holders at http://crimeresearch.org/2017/02/accidental-shootings-on-k-12-and-university-property-by-permit-holders/
6 Allan J. Schwartz, Rate, Relative Risk, and Method of Suicide by Students at 4-Year Colleges and Universities in the United States, 2004-2005 through 2008-2009, 41 Suicide & Life-Threatening Behav. 353, 359
6 M. Ransfrom, Most Students don’t want guns on their campuses at http://cms.bsu.edu/news/articles/2013/9/students-say-no-to-concealed-weapons-on-campus