Pistol Purchase Permitting System

Pistol Purchase Permitting System

Bottom Line

  • Repealing NC’s Pistol Purchase Permitting system would endanger North Carolinians by abolishing the critical requirement that all handgun buyers pass a criminal background check to buy a handgun no mater where they are buying the handgun.
  • For decades, this Permit-to-Purchase (PTP) law has been the backbone of public safety in North Carolina, keeping guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and people experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • 87% of likely North Carolina voters support requiring background checks for all handgun sales.

Why State Handgun Purchaser Licensing Laws are Critical

  • Federal law requires prospective firearm purchasers to pass a background check verifying that they meet all eligibility requirements if the seller is a federally licensed firearm dealer.

  • Prohibited persons or anyone who does not want records linking themselves to a gun can acquire firearms from unlicensed private sellers who have no legal obligation to verify that the prospective purchaser can legally possess a firearm. This includes gun shows, online purchases and private transfer to an individual. These transactions account to 20% of the gun market.

  • In all states with PTP laws, like North Carolina, both licensed and unlicensed firearm sellers can only legally sell a firearm to someone if they have a valid permit or license.

State Handgun Purchaser Licensing Prevents Guns from Being Diverted to Criminals

  • A study of guns traced to crime in 53 cities found that the PTP laws allowing police discretion were associated with 64% lower risk of guns being diverted to criminals when compared to states without such laws.

  • After Missouri repealed background checks in 2007, gun homicides spiked by 25 %—an additional 68 deaths per year.

Handgun Purchaser Licensing Linked to Lower Gun-Related Deaths

  • While Missouri saw a sharp increase in firearm homicide rates following the 2007 background check repeal, none of the states bordering Missouri nor the nation as a whole saw significant increases in firearm homicide rates during that time period.

  • The law’s repeal was associated with a 14% increase in Missouri’s murder rates through 2012 (about 50 lives per year).

  • Preliminary evidence from a study of trends in assaults against law enforcement officers across states found the repeal of Missouri’s PTP law was also associated with an increased risk of nonfatal shootings of police officers.

  • States with PTP laws tend to have lower firearm-related death rates than states without these laws after controlling for demographic, economic and other differences across states.

  • A recent study comparing changes in suicide rates to changes in state firearm policies found that PTP laws reduced suicide rates.

Public Support for Laws Licensing Handgun Purchasers

  • There is overwhelming support for background checks for virtually all firearms sales 90% of the public overall and 82% among gun owners.

  • More than 75% of adults surveyed support laws that require prospective firearm purchasers to acquire a license from local law enforcement and nearly 60% of gun owners support this policy, according to a 2013 Johns Hopkins study.