Until last week, Durham County was the only place in North Carolina requiring gun owners to register their firearms at the county courthouse, thanks to a law implemented in 1935. The original law was authored following a string of violence in “shot houses,” where people went to buy cheap liquor.
That requirement is now obsolete, as the General Assembly last week ratified Senate Bill 226
, which repeals the Durham County Firearm Act.
Effective immediately, Durham County residents are no longer required to register their handguns with the Clerk of Superior Court.
According to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Mike Woodard, a Democrat who represents Durham, Person and Caswell counties, the law was a vestige of the Jim Crow era, enacted to strip African-Americans of gun rights. In an interview several weeks ago, Woodard said the registry was a nuisance to gun owners and clerk’s office employees (who maintain the registry by hand), and that the law was not really enforced.
“I don’t think cops are going to make you go back to the Clerk’s office and make you pay five bucks if you haven’t registered,” he said.