Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Even The Sheriffs' Own Report Contradicts Themselves On HB 562

North Carolina's HB 562 - the Second Amendment Affirmation Act - has been added to the House calendar for today. In the meantime, a report from the North Carolina Sheriffs Association directly contradicts their assertions that the sheriffs are the ones best placed to determine who should be allowed to purchase a handgun. They have been arguing that sheriffs know more about the people in their county than what is contained in the FBI's NICS database.

HB 937 passed in the 2013-2014 session of the General Assembly required sheriffs to submit a report assessing how many existing pistol purchase permits were still held by disqualified persons. The bill as passed allowed for the North Carolina Sheriffs Association to submit one report compiling the results from all 100 sheriffs. Let's just say the results are not exactly what the NCSA wishes to be known.

Grass Roots North Carolina details the results in the alert below. Note that it includes a link to the report. I suggest that you take that link and send it with a note to your own House representative. I certainly plan to send it to Rep. Brian Turner (D-Buncombe) who is my rep.


Sheriff report shows NICS checks are superior to our archaic permit system at keeping criminals from getting guns. . .

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) has been the leading opponent of House Bill 562, in particular its repeal of North Carolina’s Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit (PPP) system. Their objections have been a moving target as they first claimed sheriffs “know” their constituents and “know” who is unfit to get a permit; then they claimed the National Instant Background Check System is inadequate to conduct criminal background checks (although in truth most sheriffs conduct only a NICS check prior to issuing a permit); finally, they shopped the argument that relying on NICS for point-of-purchase checks would somehow undermine the sheriff and empower the federal government – an argument rendered ridiculous if you understand that sheriffs are required by law to do NICS checks prior to issuing purchase permits.

Sheriffs’ own report an indictment of the system
So imagine our surprise when we discovered that the NCSA had quietly shelved its own report describing what complete chaos the pistol purchase permit system is in, and how many permits might currently be held by criminals. Under HB 937, passed in 2013, sheriffs were required to develop a report indicating how many disqualified persons still held permits which are valid for 5 years and allow them to bypass background checks via NICS. They were also required to revoke invalid permits. To see the NCSA report, CLICK HERE (or go to: http://grnc.org/documents/NCSA-PPP-Revocation-Report-2014-FINAL.pdf).

Some highlights from the NCSA report with most in sheriffs’ own words:
  • “[NICS] reports included 165 or 23.5% of permits being subject to revocation in Camden County and 35,488 or 38% of permits being subject to revocation in Mecklenburg County.”

  • “…sheriffs’ offices [submitted] 674,806 permits for review representing 344,338 different permit holders. CJLEADS returned 26,637 permits to sheriffs as subject to revocation due to an event or condition that occurred subsequent to the issuance of the permit that would have disqualified the individual from receiving a pistol purchase permit at application.” [That rate is about 4%, or four times higher than NICS, suggesting that the PPP system is *inferior* to NICS at preventing criminals from getting guns.]

  • “Sheriffs have reported revoking 5,255 permits from 2,447 permittees as a result of the background check and review process through April 25, 2014. However, it should be noted that a sheriff has no way of knowing if a permit has been used since issuance.” [Translation: Perhaps only ¼ of 26,637 invalid permits were “revoked,” leaving potentially 22,000+ criminals in possession of permits and able to bypass background checks.]

  • “Sheriffs’ offices are staffed to review and process Pistol Purchase Permit applications and not to conduct periodic reviews of active permits…”

  • “Conducting an ongoing manual case by case review of 289 permits in Tyrrell County or 93,486 permits in Mecklenburg County is nearly impossible.” [So much for NCSA’s argument that sheriffs “know” who in their counties should have permits. If they can’t manually check them now, how can they do so before issuance?]

  • “Several sheriffs’ offices had over 40% of their permits reported subject to revocation in the NICS report.”

  • “Sheriffs’ offices cannot account for permits claimed to be ‘lost’…”

  • “Gun dealers do not know if a permit has been revoked…”
What the NCSA report means
While the sheriffs will undoubtedly claim that inconsistencies of data matching contributed to high rates of permits being reported for revocation, even the “best” possible number of 5,255 permits “revoked” means 5,255 criminals had (or have) guns under the system.

By the way, did we mention that “revocation” means only that the sheriff issued a revocation letter? If the criminal says, The dog ate my permit, they have no recourse and that criminal may still use that slip of paper to bypass a computerized background check.

The bottom line is that NICS checks are superior to our archaic permit system at keeping criminals from getting guns.

Adding insult to injury…

Before the NCSA apparently instructed sheriffs to stonewall on the cost of issuing each pistol purchase permit, Forsyth County was kind enough to give the following estimate: $50.54 for each pistol purchase permit issued, meaning a waste of taxpayer dollars of $311,781.26 for just one county. Multiply that by 100 counties, and the evidence is compelling that millions of dollars of your money is being wasted to shore up a system that lets criminals get guns while obstructing the law-abiding from doing so.

By the way, did we mention that Forsyth reports denying nearly 10% of permits applied for, with most presumably under the “good moral character” loophole? That rate of denial is roughly 10 times higher than NICS and once again suggests that good guys are being denied guns while bad guys are getting them.


  • EMAIL NC HOUSE REPUBLICANS. Use the copy/paste email list provided below, and the copy paste text under 'Deliver This Message.' Ask them how they can justify retaining an archaic system that allows more criminals to get guns than NICS.

  • CALL YOUR NC HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE. Tell him or her that he or she had better support repeal of a system which quite obviously hinders law-abiding citizens from getting guns while enabling criminals to do precisely that. Find your NC House rep by clicking here
    (or go to: http://ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx).

NC House Republicans Email List:

Jay.Adams@ncleg.net; Dean.Arp@ncleg.net; Marilyn.Avila@ncleg.net; John.Bell@ncleg.net; Dan.Bishop@ncleg.net; Hugh.Blackwell@ncleg.net; John.Blust@ncleg.net; Jamie.Boles@ncleg.net; John.Bradford@ncleg.net; Bill.Brawley@ncleg.net; Mark.Brody@ncleg.net; Rayne.Brown@ncleg.net; Brian.Brown@ncleg.net; Rob.Bryan@ncleg.net; Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.net; Justin.Burr@ncleg.net; Rick.Catlin@ncleg.net; George.Cleveland@ncleg.net; Jeff.Collins@ncleg.net; Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net; Leo.Daughtry@ncleg.net; Ted.Davis@ncleg.net; Jimmy.Dixon@ncleg.net; Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net; Nelson.Dollar@ncleg.net; Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net; John.Faircloth@ncleg.net; Carl.Ford@ncleg.net; John.Fraley@ncleg.net; Mike.Hager@ncleg.net; Jon.Hardister@ncleg.net; Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net; Bryan.Holloway@ncleg.net; Craig.Horn@ncleg.net; Julia.Howard@ncleg.net; Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net; Frank.Iler@ncleg.net; Charles.Jeter@ncleg.net; Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net; Bert.Jones@ncleg.net; Jonathan.Jordan@ncleg.net; Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.net; James.Langdon@ncleg.net; Chris.Malone@ncleg.net; Susan.Martin@ncleg.net; Pat.McElraft@ncleg.net; Allen.McNeill@ncleg.net; Chris.Millis@ncleg.net; Gary.Pendleton@ncleg.net; Larry.Pittman@ncleg.net; Michele.Presnell@ncleg.net; Dennis.Riddell@ncleg.net; George.Robinson@ncleg.net; Stephen.Ross@ncleg.net; Jason.Saine@ncleg.net; Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net; Phil.Shepard@ncleg.net; Michael.Speciale@ncleg.net; Paul.Stam@ncleg.net; Bob.Steinburg@ncleg.net; Sarah.Stevens@ncleg.net; John.Szoka@ncleg.net; John.Torbett@ncleg.net; Rena.Turner@ncleg.net; Harry.Warren@ncleg.net; Sam.Watford@ncleg.net; Roger.West@ncleg.net; Chris.Whitmire@ncleg.net; Larry.Yarborough@ncleg.net; Lee.Zachary@ncleg.net; Chuck.McGrady@ncleg.net; Paul.Tine@ncleg.net


Suggested Subject: "End the ‘Felon Enablement’ Permit System"  

Dear Representative:

With respect to House Bill 562, a report shelved by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) and only recently unearthed demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that sheriffs are shoring up an archaic pistol purchase permit system which allows thousands of felons to get guns, while denying law-abiding citizens whom the sheriff arbitrarily deems not of “good moral character.” The report reveals that the computerized National Instant Background Check System (NICS) found 26,637 permits held by disqualified individuals – nearly 4%, or roughly four times higher than denials by NICS. Even if the NCSA claims errors in data matching, the organization admits 5,255 revocation letters were issued, meaning that the archaic pistol purchase permit system let at least 5,255 criminals have guns.

Worse, Forsyth County reports that the cost of issuing a single purchase permit – for which the county gets $5, is $50.54 while nearly 10% of applications are denied, suggesting that across our one hundred counties, tax payers are funding a system which wastes millions of dollars denying guns permits to law-abiding citizens while giving them to felons.

Bring HB 562 to the floor for a vote and pass it, including its provision for repealing the purchase permit system. If House Republicans fail to act, they are perpetuating a “felon enablement” law.


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