In North Carolina, purchasing a high-powered AR-15-style assault rifle—the kind used to mow down forty-nine people in Orlando early Sunday morning—can be done quickly and easily, and with very little government hassle.
If you prefer to buy from fellow gun enthusiasts, head to ARMSLIST.com, which is like Craigslist for the gun fancier. Right now, there’s a twenty-four-inch HBAR AR-15 going for $875. According to North Carolina law, sellers and buyers don’t have to bother with background checks for the private sale of a “long gun,” meaning a gun designed to be braced against the shoulder, a definition that includes assault rifles.
Buying a rifle that can spit out forty-five rounds per minute from a gun store is only slightly more difficult. So long as you’re an American citizen or permanent resident with acceptable identification, you can walk into your gun shop of choice, point to one or more AR-15s, say, “I want that one,” and whip out your credit card. If you have already have a state handgun permit or concealed-carry permit, that’s all there is to it.
If you don’t have a state permit, however, don’t fret: you’ll have your death machine soon enough, provided you clear a federal background check, which covers criminal history, drug abuse, mental health, and domestic violence. If no red flags pop up—note: being on a terrorism watch list is not grounds for rejection—you’ll probably be greenlighted the same day.
Fun fact: this process is easier than buying a handgun in North Carolina. Buying a handgun requires a permit, which means the local sheriff’s office has to sign off. There’s no such requirement for an assault rifle.