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March 29, 2023

N.C. Legislature Overrides Veto, Abolishes 104-Year-Old Jim Crow Pistol Permit Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Carolina’s General Assembly vetoed to overturn Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 41, legislation that scraps the state’s 104-year-old racist Jim Crow-era law for permit-to-purchase pistol requirements.

The new law strikes the Tar Heel State’s requirement that sheriffs make a “good moral character” judgement on North Carolinians seeking to purchase a handgun. The state legislature’s override of Gov. Cooper’s veto means the state will instead rely on the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to verify that every purchase of a firearm is only allowed for those who can pass the instant background check.

“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,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “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.”

Senate Bill 41 was the second attempt to overturn the law. Gov. Cooper vetoed similar legislation in 2021, despite the law having the backing of North Carolina’s Sheriffs Association.

Background checks for North Carolina handgun purchases will become more secure since permits-to-purchase handguns were valid for five years, meaning an individual who legally obtained a permit but was subsequently listed as a prohibited individual would have still been able to acquire handguns. The move to scrap the permits and rely on FBI NICS will assure North Carolina firearm retailers that each and every time they transfer a firearm, that transfer will only occur with a law-abiding citizen.

The law will also require the state’s Department of Public Safety to educate the public about the importance of the safe storage of firearms and to facilitate the distribution of gun locks, as well as provide suicide prevention education. Both are initiatives of NSSF’s Real Solutions. Safer Communities.® campaign to ensure firearms remain beyond the reach of those who cannot be trusted to possess them.


About NSSF
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit


Media contact:
Mark Oliva

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