Republican lawmakers in the North Carolina House of Representatives voted Wednesday to override Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the pistol permit bill.
This means that a person no longer has to obtain a permit from their local sheriff’s office before they can purchase a handgun.
This is the first time Republican lawmakers have successfully overridden the governor's veto since 2018.
Niko Stucker is the manager at On Target, a local gun store and shooting range in Asheville. His family built the store 35 years ago, and he’s been involved his entire life.
Stucker said the gun industry is filled with people who are super pro-gun and don’t believe there should be any restrictions, but he understands having regulations.
Stucker said, in North Carolina, a person had to be a resident and purchase a permit from the local sheriff’s office to buy a handgun. Now, that has been abolished.
But there will still be a federal background check, like there is for long guns.
“I’m not a huge fan of it, personally," Stucker said of the move. "As a gun store owner, it puts a little bit more liability on us."
He said that with the permits going through the sheriff’s office, they handled a lot of the liability.
Having to rely on the FBI’s system isn’t a great scenario for Stucker.
“It’s just their generic check that they use in all 50 states. The sheriff’s department or state-regulated background checks can be a little more specific. They can go into mental health, domestic violence,” Stucker said.
The sheriff’s office background checks can show things that may not show up on some of the generic legal records, Stucker said.
Before this override, Stucker said they could just use a purchase permit or concealed carry to check for people who were attempting to buy handguns, but now the only instant option is concealed carry.
Another thing that Stucker said many people don’t realize is the repercussions that will come for those who are trying to buy handguns.
Stucker said the FBI system is inherently slow, and that’s just using it for long guns. So, adding handguns into that system will slow people’s ability to purchase guns.
“I doubt most of the time we’re going to have instantaneous background check approvals, so you’re going to see a delay of a couple days just because the system is so overridden,” Stucker said.
Stucker said he and his employees spend a lot of time with customers, trying to get an idea of who they are and what their intent is.
“We train people to be safe firearm owners," he said. "Outside of that, we don’t have much control. So, we’ll do the best we can."
Stucker said he has had instances where he didn’t feel comfortable selling a person a gun.
In the past, he has called the sheriff’s office when someone seemed not right mentally or maybe had ill intent.
On Target had the sheriff’s office investigate the would-be gun buyer a little more, but that’s not an option now.
“So, now I just have to come up with a reason to turn a customer away,” Stucker said.
Political expert and Western Carolina University political science professor Chris Cooper said Republicans who backed the move believed the local background check was an additional step that wasn't needed.
On the other side, Democrats thought the federal background check didn’t do enough.
But Cooper said, no matter what people’s opinions are, this is the law now in North Carolina.
He said there are already some county sheriffs who have said as of Wednesday they were going to stop processing any permit requests that came in.
Attorney Josh Stein said he believed the law would make it easier for criminals to buy guns.