This week, the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly voted to override Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill to scrap the state's racist Jim Crow-era pistol permit scheme. 

The 104-year-old law allowed sheriffs to make an arbitrary "good moral character" judgment on each North Carolinian seeking to purchase a handgun. While lawmakers sent the repeal, SB 41, to Cooper, he promptly vetoed the measure, claiming that removing the permit system would lead to an increase in gun crime. Lawmakers didn't buy what Cooper was selling and approved a veto override this week, ending the longstanding permit-to-purchase pistol requirements.

The override votes tallied 30-19 in the state Senate on Tuesday and 71-46 in the House on Wednesday. This narrowly exceeded the necessary 6/10 supermajority, despite the fact that two Dems who voted for SB-41 initially refused to vote for the override.

"This legislation preserves the Second Amendment rights of North Carolinians by repealing the outdated pistol permit system," said NC House Speaker Tim Moore on Monday. "It also allows all churches and other place of religious worship to protect their parishioners and launches a statewide firearm safe storage awareness initiative. These have been long-standing goals of Second Amendment advocates in our state, and we have finally brought this legislation over the finish line."

With pistol permits now a thing of the past, federally licensed gun dealers performing over-the-counter handgun sales will still conduct background checks on potential buyers via NICS. 

Other than North Carolina, 13 states – mostly deep blue when it comes to political affiliation – have permit-to-purchase laws. The Tar Heel State adopted its law in 1919, at a time when North Carolina Democrats were enshrining segregation, and the mandate allowed elected county lawmen to make sure only "the right people" could legally buy a handgun with applicants having little to no recourse for denials.  

"This is a tremendous victory for North Carolina and a long-overdue move to relegate this racist Jim Crow-era law to the ash heap of history,” Larry Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Senior Vice President and General Counsel, said in a statement to "Governor Cooper’s insistence of retaining this ill-conceived relic of a discriminatory era was wrong and the firearm industry is grateful to the North Carolina legislators to put an end to this scheme that only served to deny citizens their Second Amendment rights."

National anti-gun group Everytown, backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, spent $6.5 million in North Carolina during the 2020 election cycle that brought Cooper to the governor's mansion.

Banner image: S&W Model 29 in .44 Magnum on a comfy leather sofa. (Photo: Chris Eger/

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