North Carolina Mayors and Law Enforcement Help Block Dangerous Proposal That Would Have Eliminated Background Checks on Handgun Purchases

Jul 23, 2013, 22:01 ET from Mayors Against Illegal Guns

90 Percent of North Carolinians Support Background Checks for All Gun Sales

At Urging of North Carolina Mayors and Law Enforcement, Legislature Scraps Repeal of Permit System, Preserves Background Checks For All Handgun Purchases

RALEIGH, N.C., July 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- North Carolina mayors and law enforcement tonight helped block a dangerous NRA-backed attack on gun background checks from passing the General Assembly, as lawmakers stripped language from HB 937 that would have repealed the state's handgun permit requirement -- effectively eliminating background checks for private handgun sales. North Carolina mayors and law enforcement have spoken out in strong opposition to the version of the bill pushed by Washington gun lobbyists, which would have made it easier for criminals, domestic abusers and those with severe mental illnesses to get handguns. 90 percent of North Carolinians support background checks for all gun sales.

The previous version of HB 937, which passed the North Carolina State Senate, would have repealed the state's requirement that all handgun purchases by private sellers undergo a background check -- creating easy access to guns for dangerous people who are currently unable to pass a background check. Empirical evidence shows states that have taken similar measures weakening laws on background checks have seen a spike in violent crime. In states that require background checks for all handgun sales, however, 39 percent fewer law enforcement officials are killed with handguns, and the firearm suicide rate is 49 percent lower.

Currently, because of a dangerous loophole in federal law, criminals can avoid background checks by buying firearms from unlicensed  "private sellers" -- often at gun shows or through anonymous online transactions -- who are not required by federal law to conduct them. An estimated 6.6 million guns were transferred in 2012 without a federal background check, accounting for approximately 40 percent of all gun sales in the United States.

After the language was removed from the bill in Conference Committee, North Carolina mayors and law enforcement issued the following statements:

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt
"Allowing convicted felons and domestic abusers to buy handguns in our state with no questions asked would have been a recipe for disaster, and I'm glad North Carolina mayors and law enforcement came together to urge our legislature to do the right thing and remove this dangerous language from HB 937. Still, I have grave concerns about other provisions in the bill, particularly the expansion of the carrying of firearms on educational property and guns in bars. Those are both deadly combinations."

Durham Mayor Bill Bell
"Background checks are not just formalities to acquiring a handgun, they are a critical tool for protecting public safety. Eliminating the handgun permit requirement would have made our communities less safe, and would have deprived law enforcement of an important tool to make sure guns don't fall into dangerous hands. We can always do more to make North Carolina communities safer, but today was a move in the right direction."

Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe
"Mayors and law enforcement leaders from across North Carolina came together to speak out against the provision in this bill that would have eliminated background checks on handgun purchases because we care about the safety of our communities. It's ludicrous that our legislature was trying to make it easier for convicted felons to buy handguns with no questions asked. Our lawmakers in North Carolina and in Congress need to remember that 90 percent of North Carolinians and over 90 percent of Americans support background checks."

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 950 mayors from across the country, including 15 mayors from North Carolina. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country. The bipartisan coalition has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns. Learn more at

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Jack Warner: or 914-575-1090

SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns