North Carolina Passes Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal Law

North Carolina
North Carolina Passes Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal Law

North Carolina – -( The North Carolina Rifle and Pistol Association (NCRPA) applauds the state Senate for passage of House Bill 398.

This bill will repeal the pistol permit requirement in favor of the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check. HB 398 was passed earlier in the House with bipartisan support, and passed last week along party lines, with two Senate Democrats not voting. It now goes to Governor Cooper to sign, veto, or do nothing, whereupon the bill becomes law.

“The pistol purchase permit was created before modern, computerized background checks existed, and the federal NICS checks that licensed firearms dealers use are often completed within minutes,” says David McFarling, NCRPA president. “It is unnecessary to add undue burdens on law-abiding citizens when we already have federal background checks. We urge the governor to sign HB 398.”

To acquire a handgun in North Carolina an individual must go to the county sheriff’s office in the county in which they reside and obtain a pistol purchase permit. This is not required if one has a Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit. State law requires the applicant to appear in person with government ID, pay a $5 fee, undergo a background check similar in scope and scrutiny to NICS, and have a reason for owning a pistol (hunting, target shooting, self-defense, or collecting). Because there are 100 different county sheriffs in North Carolina, there are different sets of rules and requirements for obtaining such a permit, which can be determined arbitrarily by the local sheriff. Some sheriffs impose other restrictions such as a limit on the number of permits applied for at a time, waiting periods, and/or proof of good moral character (a witness or references, in some cases notarized with affidavits).

The need for reform became clear last year when the Wake County Sheriff’s Office suspended processing pistol purchase permits for at least a month in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the time when many citizens sought to exercise their Second Amendment rights for the first time. This move left prospective new gun owners especially vulnerable, as they could not buy a handgun or receive one in a private transfer, even from a family member or close friend, unless they were issued a permit prior to the shutdown. HB 398 will ensure that this cannot happen again.

The pistol permit law in North Carolina is a relic, a holdover from the early 1900 Jim Crow laws that were designed to prevent African-Americans and other minorities from obtaining handguns, and similar laws have been repealed in every other Southern state. In addition, the law relies on untraceable purchase permits valid for five years which can be held by people who become ineligible to buy guns but continue to use old permits to bypass NICS.

McFarling also added, “North Carolina’s court system finished furnishing mental health involuntary commitment records to NICS in 2019, ensuring that it can do thorough checks. The Pistol Purchase Permit requirement makes no sense to have our sheriffs tasked with approving and issuing individual pistol purchase permits. Their work is duplicative, costly and an unnecessary burden on law enforcement and law-abiding gun owners.”

The North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association, the National Rifle Association, and the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association back the repeal of the pistol purchase permit. The pistol purchase permit now only serves as a time barrier, an unnecessary fee, and a general inconvenience to the exercise of the Second Amendment.

The NCRPA thanks Rep. Jay Adams, Rep. George Cleveland, Rep. Edward Goodwin and Rep. Bobby Hanig for sponsoring this bill, Sen. Phil Berger and Speaker Tim Moore for their leadership, as well as Rep. Shelly Willingham and Rep. Michael Wray for their leadership and bipartisan support of this bill.

“NCRPA members and supporters worked hard to ensure this bill received the recognition it so justly deserved. We thank them all and encourage everyone to contact Gov. Cooper and urge him to sign HB 398, Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal,” McFarling concluded.

To contact Governor Cooper, link to

North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association

The North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association was established in 1938 as the sole state-wide organization affiliated with the National Rifle Association.

The Association’s mission is to protect and preserve our Second Amendment right to bear arms and to promote and preserve the shooting sports, the safe use and storage of firearms, and the principles of marksmanship and self-defense.

North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association

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Former Director

Another vestage of Jim Crow died. Amazing it took 50 years since the Civil Rights Act to kill it.

Country Boy

Rogue Roy Cooper will veto it just like he did the CCW in churches bill, most likely.


It’s amazing some of these laws are still on the books.
Come on SCOTUS. It’s time to put the hammer down and solidify the 2nd once and for all.
Let the men and women of this country protect it from Tyranny.