CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael says he does not favor a bill filed in the General Assembly that would allow for people buying a handgun to do a background check online.
Under the current law, handgun purchasers first have to go to the Sheriff's Office for a background check.
Cornelius State Senator introduced the bill and said, "it's time to enter the 21st century."
Under Tarte's proposed legislation, people buying a handgun would go on online and get a background check from a program run by the FBI.
It's called the "National Instant Criminal Background Check System," or NICS for short.
Tarte says NICS is as good as the systems now in place.
"We have the technology available to do the same kind of check in just a matter of moments," said Tarte.
But Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael disagreed.
He said, "They do not have the resources that we do."
Carmichael said under the current law, a gun purchaser undergoes an NICS check, but Mecklenburg County digs deeper.
"We are able to check warrants. We can check for pending cases and that can deny someone a permit."
Gun store owner Larry Hyatt says the NICS system has greatly improved from just five or six years ago, adding it now includes some local information.
"Charlotte-Mecklenburg just got their mental health records put in the system so we are pretty confident in the NICS system," he says.
But Sheriff Carmichael says an NICS check alone is not enough to prevent the purchase of the gun that was used in the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
"If Dylan Roof had come to Mecklenburg County, he would have been denied a permit," Carmichael said. "When NICS can do everything that we can, I'm ready to give that process up."
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