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Governor Cooper Stands Up for Public Safety and Vetoes Background Check Repeal Bill; Moms Demand Action Responds

August 30, 2021

Gun Violence Survivors, Moms Demand Action Volunteers are Available for Interviews

Advocates Held Press Conference Urging Lawmakers to Reject HB 398; Recording Available 

The North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statements after Governor Cooper vetoed HB 398, a bill which would repeal North Carolina’s background check requirement for unlicensed handgun sales. 

“Vetoing this dangerous bill proves again that Governor Cooper listens to the experts and puts public safety first,” said Tony Cope, a volunteer with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We urge state legislators who support public safety to stand with Gov. Cooper in keeping guns out of the hands of people who cannot pass our state’s background checks.”

In recent weeks, State Attorney General Josh Stein called the permit law “one of our most effective tools to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, felons and other dangerous people. This bill would remove sheriffs’ role in granting permits, taking away their ability to protect the people in their communities and making it easier for people who are dangerous to buy pistols.”

Last Wednesday, law enforcement representatives, gun policy experts, racial justice advocates, and gun safety leaders held a virtual press conference to urge lawmakers to reject this dangerous legislation. According to a Raleigh News & Observer report, Gerald Givens Jr., president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP, said the issue should not be partisan. “This issue is not about Democrats. It’s not about Republicans,” he said. “It’s about us doing the work that we can to prevent homicides as well as suicides.”

HB 398 would repeal North Carolina’s background check requirement on unlicensed handgun sales and make it easy for felons, domestic abusers, and those prohibited based on mental illness to buy handguns in North Carolina. Twenty-one states, including North Carolina, and the District of Columbia have laws requiring a person to pass a criminal background check before buying a handgun from an unlicensed seller. State laws requiring background checks for all handgun sales are associated with lower firearm homicide rates, lower firearm suicide rates, and lower rates of firearm trafficking. When Missouri repealed its purchase permit law requiring background checks, the state experienced an up to 27 percent increase in its firearm homicide rate. Since 1998, more than 80,000 firearm sales to prohibited purchasers have been denied in North Carolina. For more than 100 years, North Carolina has required a background check for all handgun sales through a permit to purchase.

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