North Carolina’s state legislature is considering ending its requirement that handgun owners get a permit, the News and Observer reported on Tuesday night, a move that has a proven track record of increasing crime.
Not only would this legislation allow anyone to purchase a small, easily concealable handgun (often times, thanks to loopholes, without a background check), it also calls for opening up huge new swaths of public space where people are allowed to carry concealed weapons, including all public and many private colleges and universities, all parades and funeral processions, and “greenways.” Guns will even be allowed in bars unless the owners specifically prohibit them.
This bill, like so many others under consideration by North Carolina’s legislature, has proven dangerous consequences. North Carolina’s legislators need to look no further than Missouri to see just how risky repealing permits can be. Back in 2007, that state repealed its “permit-to-purchase” (PTP) law, as North Carolina is now considering. The results were disastrous.
The repeal of the permit law in Missouri made it easier for criminals to buy weapons, according to a study by Daniel Webster, Director Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. As a result, gun crimes increased, and more and more were committed with untraceable weapons:
The authors of the study explain that after the permit law was repealed, people were buying guns and using them for crimes in just a few months’ time, instead longer previous rates of time between purchase and criminal use. They found that even as national rates of intervals between purchase and crime grew, Missouri’s shrank significantly. “Consistent with our hypotheses that Missouri’s PTP had been preventing guns from being diverted to criminals,” they conclude “the share of crime guns originating from Missouri increased from a mean of 55.6% when the PTP law was in place to 70.8% by 2011.” The evidence suggests, then, that North Carolina could be in for a similar fate should their law pass.
H.B. 937, the omnibus bill that contains both these measures (along with another to allow concealed guns in bars), is just another move in the state legislature’s shift rightward, which has also heralded bills to suppress the vote, nullify the US constitution, raise taxes on the poor, and strike fear into its immigrant population.