RALEIGH The North Carolina House has voted to bar the public from reviewing the detailed records of concealed-weapon and pistol-permit holders when those permits have been issued in the name of safety.
The House voted 97-20 on Tuesday in favor of making confidential lists of people purchasing pistols or who received concealed weapons permits from local sheriffs, and their identifying information. The information is currently public record, meaning anyone can access it.
Bill proponents argue permit information can help potential thieves figure out who has weapons they want to steal or wish to avoid while seeking targets. Gun rights advocates also have been angry over media outlets obtaining permit records and posting some or all of the information.
Media advocates say making gun records public record ensures that law enforcement is fair and responsible in handing out permits.
A New York Times analysis of North Carolina data in 2011 found that more than 200 of the 240,000 concealed-handgun permit holders at that time had been convicted of gun- or weapon-related felonies or misdemeanors in the previous five years.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where a similar bill has been considered.
Some sheriffs have already refused to hand over the records.
North Carolina law says any government record must be made available to anyone who asks for it unless it’s listed as an exception by statute.
There is no such exception for personal information collected by sheriffs’ offices during the handgun permit process or for the State Bureau of Investigation’s list of concealed-carry permit holders.
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