More than 60 people who hold permits to buy handguns in Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County have been convicted of felonies, some involving guns, a Charlotte Observer data analysis shows. Five were convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, three of manslaughter, two of firing into occupied property, and one of second-degree murder. Others were convicted of assaults that left victims badly injured or of using weapons to attack government officials. The Observer found 230 permit holders with drug convictions, including dozens of people with multiple convictions. North Carolina law says permit holders can't use or be addicted to illegal drugs.
The findings – which come from gun data the N.C. General Assembly is seeking to close to the public – show a faulty permitting system that fails to detect newly convicted criminals or to give law enforcement the authority to revoke gun permits. Government-issued permits are the only legal way to buy handguns in North Carolina. All felons, except some white-collar criminals, are barred from owning guns. To get the $5 permits, an applicant must pass a limited background check by a county sheriff that's designed to weed out felons and others who can't own guns.