Rifles on display at a gun store (Photo: Ashley Buttle / CC BY 2.0)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – North Carolina Rep. Rodney Moore is ready to increase the age to purchase a rifle in North Carolina from 18 to 21.
Moore (D-Mecklenburg) has a draft bill that would not only raise the age but have a 90-day waiting period to check the background of applicants who want the guns and increase the penalties of people who use rifles to commit crimes at schools, public buildings and places of worship. Moore wants the state to be proactive.
“I don’t know if it will make gun violence go down, but it will send a clear message that we’re trying to protect the citizenry,” Moore said.
Moore says he doesn’t think young people who are 18 years old are ready to handle assault rifles. He doesn’t think they are mature enough and he doesn’t see the need for the high powered rifles.
The 90-day wait would allow the sheriff’s office to check each applicant’s background to see if they meet the requirements. They include a person’s mental state, criminal background and not having a dishonorable discharge from the military. This would create more work for the sheriff’s office.
“When you look at the public benefit and it’s a public safety issue – that is well worth the extra work to keep our community safe,” Moore said.
The politician hopes if this bill passes, the state would provide more resources for law enforcement.
“I am sure there will be some type of way to help the sheriff’s department out if we get this bill passed,” the lawmaker said.
There is already opposition to this draft bill.
“Enforce the gun laws that you have on the books now. Don’t create new ones,” NRA lifetime member David Hart said.
Hart was at Hyatt Coin and Gun Shop. He is not a fan of Moore’s draft legislation and doesn’t think the bill will help decrease gun violence.
“If you are 18 years old you can vote. You can serve in the military, why would you not be able to buy a shotgun or rifle to hunt or defend yourself. I think it’s ludicrous,” Hart said.
Larry Hyatt is the gun shop owner. He believes the proposed draft bill will hurt business as it relates to hunting and argues 90 days is too long.
“With our technology today and background checks that’s really not necessary. You can get a big loan in an hour, check people’s credit, check people’s background in just a few minutes. We don’t need 90 days,” Hyatt Coin and Gun Shop Larry Hyatt said.
Moore is the only sponsor of the bill. He wants that to change and wants bi-partisan support. He wants to introduce the proposed legislation to the General Assembly in May. Moore knows it will be a tough sell.
“That’s what good legislation does. It challenges the norm and we kind of come together and come up with something that we can get 61 votes out of the House with,” Moore said.