RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 14, 2013 — A state Senate panel debated legislation Thursday that would make gun permits in North Carolina confidential records, available only through a court order.
The Senate Judiciary Committee didn't vote on Senate Bill 28, which garnered support from law enforcement and gun rights groups but was criticized by the North Carolina Press Association.
"This bill is actually is aimed at the theft of guns," said bill sponsor Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson. He said there's been a "public outcry" from gun owners concerned they could be targeted by thieves.
Greg Stahl, director of government relations for the North Carolina Sheriffs Association, said sheriff's offices statewide have been "flooded with requests" to examine gun permit records, including many requests from people not in the media.
"The list of gun owners also tells you where there are no guns," Stahl said. "If you're a smart person looking for a house to break into, you go to the sheriff's office and ask for the records."
Public permit records do not actually indicate homes that have no guns, since no permits are required for rifles, shotguns or any other long gun.