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Gov. Cooper vetoes bill aimed at repealing N.C. pistol purchase permits

“At a time of rising gun violence, we cannot afford to repeal a system that works to save lives.”
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 4:31 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV/AP) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed a bill aimed at eliminating the state’s long-held requirement that a handgun buyer obtain a permit from the local sheriff.

Earlier in August, the state senate voted 27-20 along party lines to approve a House bill that would end the pistol purchase permitting system.

Gov. Cooper vetoed this bill Monday afternoon, adding the following statement.

“Gun permit laws reduce gun homicides and suicides and reduce the availability of guns for criminal activity. At a time of rising gun violence, we cannot afford to repeal a system that works to save lives. The legislature should focus on combating gun violence instead of making it easier for guns to end up in the wrong hands,” Gov. Cooper said.

The current law directs a sheriff to perform a background check on applicants, evaluate their character and ensure the gun will be use for a lawful purpose.

According to the Associated Press, any Cooper veto would likely survive an override effort since there are enough Democrats in each chamber opposing the measure. The GOP-controlled House approved the measure in May on a near party-line vote.

The local pistol permit requirement began in 1919 during the Jim Crow era, and some bill supporters argue it’s still preventing law-abiding black residents from obtaining weapons. But a local NAACP leader spoke against the bill earlier Wednesday, and Marcus said such opposition is evidence to her that the current permitting system isn’t racist.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. WBTV contributed to this story.