Roy Cooper Issues Expected Veto Of Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal

Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) is nothing if not consistent in his opposition to removing impediments to gun rights. He issued his veto today of SB 41 which would have repealed the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit that his own party instituted in 1919. The General Assembly in 1919 had no African-American members and was under the control of Democrats who had regained control in 1900 on a platform of white supremacy. Even today, research shows that African-Americans are denied permits at a much higher rate than whites.

The veto also puts congregations of churches that have attached private schools as risk.

Cooper’s veto message stated, in part:

“Eliminating strong background checks will allow more domestic abusers and other dangerous people to own handguns and reduces law enforcement’s ability to stop them from committing violent crimes. Second Amendment supporting, responsible gun owners know this will put families and communities at risk.”

SB 41 eliminates the current requirement that people have a valid permit from their local sheriff’s office before purchasing or acquiring a handgun. Under SB 41, sheriffs will lose the authority to issue or deny these permits based on criminal background checks and determining the safety and character of applicants.

The legislation removes sheriffs’ authority to refuse a permit based on signs of mental illness, domestic abuse incidents that might not be captured in a national database, or other indicators that a person could be a danger to themselves or others.

The bill also allows guns on some school properties, increasing the chances that children can find or access firearms at a time where gun offenses and suicides among North Carolina children is increasing.

Not stated in the veto message was the fact that the North Carolina Sheriffs Association did not object to passage of the repeal. Moreover, it is disingenuous to assume that a sheriff in a county as large as Wake, Mecklenburg, or Guilford – all of which have populations greater than half a million – knows everyone in his or her county that is mentally ill or doesn’t possess “good moral character.” Furthermore, the veto message ignores the restrictions in the bill that only allows possession of firearms on church property when students are not present. As such, it puts congregations with attached private schools at risk as they cannot protect themselves with volunteer church security teams.

Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, was quick to respond.

“As we predicted, anti-freedom Governor Roy Cooper wasted no time attacking the rights of gun owners. Worse, he attacked the ability of church-goers to protect themselves from attacks on religious institutions that are becoming all too common.

“It will be with great pleasure that GRNC will work to over-ride his veto of SB 41. Given that the bill passed by veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature, we have every confidence that we will deliver defeat to his doorstep.”

Unlike in past sessions of the General Assembly, an override of this veto stands a better than even chance of passage. The Republicans hold a veto-proof majority in the Senate and only need one Democrat to stick with their original vote or to be absent for it to pass in the House. The rules adopted in the House now allow Speaker Tim Moore to call for an override vote without notice which is an advantage here.

If you are a North Carolinian, I would urge you to contact your representative or senator and demand they override the veto. Do this even if you live in a district like I do where your state senator is a Constitutionally-ignorant, gun control advocate.