Forget “Save the whales.” North Carolina is going all out for “Save the guns.”
North Carolina legislators passed a bill this week that blocks local law enforcement agencies from destroying both unclaimed firearms and firearms acquired through gun buyback programs.
The bill passed the North Carolina House 98-16 and the Senate 48-1 before being signed by Governor Pat McCrory.
The law, which can be read in full here, requires police departments to donate, keep or sell confiscated firearms to licensed dealers. The only exception to the law is if a weapon has a damaged or missing serial number.
Until now, local police departments needed a judge’s permission to sell or destroy guns.
The bill was backed heavily by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The NRA sent out an alert while the bill was being debated urging constituents to tell their representatives to prevent the bill from being amended in any way that would give law enforcement agencies the power to destroy confiscated guns.
“It is critical,” the alert said, “for you to contact your state Representative TODAY and urge her or him to oppose any efforts to amend H 714 in a way that will allow any discretion by judges or law enforcement to destroy lawful functioning firearms.”
The law is one of many recent pro-gun bills passed in North Carolina. The state passed laws earlier this year allowing concealed-carry permit holders to bring guns into bars (provided they don’t drink), playgrounds, and restaurants. Concealed-carry holders may also store their weapons in a locked car on the campus of any public school or university.
North Carolina is not the first state to pass a law forbidding the destruction of guns. Arizona and Kentucky have similar laws as well.