North Carolina

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes pistol license repeal, staging showdown with GOP | News

RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed gun rights legislation on Friday that would repeal the state’s licensing requirement for the purchase of guns from fist, which Republicans say is outdated and an unnecessary violation of Second Amendment rights, but which most Democrats vehemently oppose in the end.

The bill that Cooper blocked was passed by the GOP-controlled legislature as a gun rights package. In addition to the repeal of the permit, Senate Bill 41 would also allow people to carry concealed handguns in places of worship that also serve as schools or have attached schools, to help faithful to protect themselves during religious services which take place outside school opening hours. .

SB 41 would also launch a two-year statewide awareness campaign to promote the safe storage of firearms.

“Eliminating stringent background checks will allow more domestic abusers and other dangerous people to own handguns and reduce the ability of law enforcement to prevent them from committing violent crimes,” he said. Cooper said in a statement. “Supporting the Second Amendment, responsible gun owners know will put families and communities at risk.”

Cooper previously vetoed stand-alone versions of the permit repeal and hidden carry bills, but this year Republicans are only one vote short of overriding his vetoes. That Democratic vote they need is in the House, and while no Democrat voted for a standalone permit repeal bill last month, three Democrats voted for the full firearms package. fire last week, signaling that Cooper’s veto could be overridden.

The governor’s decision to block the bill sets up the first waiver test this session for Republican legislative leaders, who have said they have enough Democratic support on some issues to revisit bills Cooper blocked earlier. in his mandate.

State Sen. Danny Britt, a Robeson County Republican who was a lead sponsor of the bill, said Friday that Cooper’s veto showed he “chose to keep our gun laws to double fire and infringing on our constitutional rights”.

Britt also suggested a by-pass vote could take place soon, saying he looked forward to “a quick replacement of the veto in the Senate.”

Repeal of permits has been the GOP’s top priority

Under current state law, anyone wishing to purchase a handgun in North Carolina must first obtain a permit from the local sheriff’s office. As part of this process, sheriffs do background checks on buyers.

Republicans say stricter federal background checks have made the permit requirement unnecessary and that sheriff’s offices should not be able to arbitrarily approve or deny permits. That, combined with long delays in permit approvals in Triangle-area counties during the pandemic, due to an increase in applications, led GOP lawmakers to push for the permit law. be repealed.

Democrats have warned that scrapping the licensing law, which applies to all gun sales, including private sales, will create a loophole that will lead to more guns in the wrong hands .

Debate on the bill grew tense in the House last week when GOP House Speaker Tim Moore said that, in the interests of time and to get the bill passed under the same form that it had been approved by the Senate, it would not take the votes. on the amendments proposed by the Democrats.

The amendments, which would have added gun safety measures Democrats have long wanted to pass, such as universal background checks and a red flag law, were certain to fail in the Republican-controlled House. But Democrats protested that they should have been allowed to debate and vote on the amendments, as was the case during the Senate debate on the bill in February.

The debate on the floor was ultimately cut short when State Rep. Destin Hall, a top Republican lawmaker, moved a procedural motion to end discussion and immediately proceed to a vote on the bill, giving leaders of both parties three minutes to talk about it first.

House Minority Leader Robert Reives used his time to express his frustration that the amendments were not considered. He said he understood Democrats were angry, but stressed that cutting off debate was fully permitted by House rules.

“I agree we’re coming to an uncomfortable point,” Reives said. “And I hope people recognize, on some level, that there has to be an acknowledgment that there are other people in the room.

Moore then defended his decision not to accept the amendments.

“Anyone who had an amendment, they were recognized to debate and they had their chance to debate, and in the debate they actually talked about the things that were in their amendment, and we let that go,” he said. Moore told reporters.

Blocking repeal is a losing battle for gun safety advocates

Republicans have the supermajority required in the Senate to override vetoes. In the House, they are one seat short, but Moore has repeatedly said he believes he has an “active” supermajority since he says several Democrats have voiced support for certain bills.

In the House vote on SB 41, Democratic Representatives Shelly Willingham of Edgecombe County, Michael Wray of Northampton County and Marvin Lucas of Cumberland County broke ranks with their party and voted in favor of the bill. law.

Groups like North Carolinians Against Gun Violence and the North Carolina Black Alliance, which vigorously opposed SB 41 as it progressed through the Legislature, thanked Cooper for blocking the bill.

Marcus Bass, deputy director of the NC Black Alliance, said in a statement that repeal of the licensing law would be “the biggest setback to gun regulations in North Carolina history.” .

“The General Assembly is trying to unlock easy access to firearms across our state. If they vote to override Governor Cooper’s veto, we won’t be able to regain access to regulating these purchases and anyone, for whatever reason, will have open access to evil,” Bass said. “This bad decision by lawmakers must be stopped immediately.”

Proponents of the bill, however, are confident that a waiver will succeed.

In a statement, Paul Valone, president of gun rights group Grass Roots North Carolina, said he was not surprised Cooper vetoed the bill and said he was looking forward to working on the enactment of the bill.

“Given that the bill passed by non-veto supermajorities in both houses of the Legislative Assembly, we are confident that we will bring defeat to its doorstep,” Valone said.



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