An Easier Time for North Carolina gun Owners

Gun owners in North Carolina will now have an easier time getting a suppressor, and can use short-barreled rifles (SBR) for hunting.

On August 6, Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 562, which passed the House in June and was approved by the Senate last month. The bill was proposed as a sweeping reform of the state's gun laws, but was watered down during its journey through the legislature, according to this story from guns.com.

What made it through was a provision that allows hunters to use SBRs and a mandate that chief law enforcement officers (CLEO) must either approve or deny applications by residents to obtain National Firearms Act (NFA) items. Go here for more info on the NFA.

When a person applies for authorization to obtain an NFA item such as a suppressor or SBR, that person must obtain a certification from the CLEO in their area, usually the county Sheriff. Federal law does not dictate the procedures a CLEO must follow in deciding on certification, and does not set any standards that apply when a CLEO decides whether or not to grant certification, according to this story on jdsupra.com.

"This is the executive action which seeks to extend the CLEO signoff requirement to every member of every NFA trust and legal entity. Many CLEOs refuse to sign NFA applications, basing their refusal on perceived liability or on purely political reasons," said American Suppressor Association president Knox Williams. "The enactment of HB 563 into law will ensure that law abiding citizens in North Carolina can receive a CLEO certification within a reasonable amount of time…"

Though the bill's original provision that would have repealed the state's permit-to-purchase scheme was removed before getting to McCrory, the new law still amends over a dozen statutes. It allows for CCW permit holders to carry their weapons in school parking lots, streamlines the permit application process, and adds protections that allow grandfathering of existing shooting ranges against new local regulations.

The law's changes go into effect January 1.

A detailed analysis of all the changed brought by HB 562 is here.