RALEIGH, N.C. — Today, the North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement condemning the North Carolina House’s action to override North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of SB 41, legislation to repeal the background check requirement for purchasing a handgun. The life-saving handgun background check law has been on the books in North Carolina since 1919, providing sheriffs with the authority to deny permits to people who could be a threat to public safety, including those who would pose a risk of harm to themselves or others with a handgun. This veto of SB 41 comes just two days following a mass school shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.
“As America reels from the horrific school shooting in Nashville, gun lobby legislators in North Carolina are doubling down on a law that will make it even easier for people with dangerous histories to buy guns,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The evidence is clear — weak gun laws equals more death, a fact North Carolina lawmakers are willfully disregarding to curry favor from gun extremists.”
“North Carolina Republicans have made it abundantly clear that raking in millions from gun lobby allies is more important than our safety. It is as simple and horrifying as that,” said Sylvia Burns, a volunteer with the North Carolina Moms Demand Action. “While Governor Roy Cooper showed the courage to protect North Carolinians, the Republican lawmakers continue to cower behind extremists. We will not stop demanding action, and we will see you at the ballot box. ”
Proponents of repealing the pistol purchase permit system have misleadingly argued that federal officials will still conduct background checks on handgun sales—but that’s only true for sales from licensed dealers. Following this veto overrule, the state will create a loophole between state and federal gun laws in which a person would be able to purchase handguns at gun shows or from strangers they meet online with no background check, and no questions asked.
For decades North Carolina has benefited from relatively strong gun laws, however, this bill now could result in higher rates of gun violence, not seen in the past century in the state. In an average year, 1,588 people die by guns in North Carolina, and 3,530 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in North Carolina. More information on gun violence in North Carolina is available here. To speak to a North Carolina volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please reach out to [email protected].