Take your guns to town, son

Quick bit of news for firearm owners out there in Durham county: you no longer need to register your handguns with the sheriff’s office. The measure passed both the House and Senate (and was backed by most everybody). The original law, as described by WRAL, was such that:

Durham County residents have 10 days from the purchase of a pistol, handgun or certain other types of weapons to register it with the clerk of Superior Court. The clerk does not digitize those records or make them available in any other format than paper files kept in filing cabinets.

Up until the repeal, persons who possessed unregistered guns could be charged with misdemeanors.

I’m having trouble finding confirmation from sources online, but the current conversation holds that the 1935 law was originally passed to restrict gun ownership among blacks. The idea was that there would be little awareness of the legislation, so a vast majority of gun owners would be unknowingly violating it; then, your local racist sheriff or deputy could go and apply the law selectively against people of color to prevent them from owning weapons.

The bill to repeal the law was sponsored by our own former councilman and present state Senator Mike Woodard during the 2013 session. Although it passed the Senate way back then, it got lost in the end of session shuffle, and the House never got around to it until now. The House’s action last week during the short session has sealed the deal, and the change doesn’t require McCrory’s signature, so it took effect immediately.

So, good riddance to this odd historical baggage, I reckon.

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