North Carolina residents no longer need a permit from a local sheriff to buy a handgun after the state’s GOP-led legislature voted Wednesday to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure.
The state House voted last month to enact the bill, which gets rid of North Carolina’s longstanding permit system requiring sheriffs to perform character evaluations and criminal history checks of pistol applicants.
Cooper vetoed the bill Friday, claiming it would make it easier for “domestic abusers and other dangerous people” to access handguns and make it harder for law enforcement to stop those people from committing violent crimes.
North Carolina gun laws change days after Nashville shooting
The change in North Carolina’s gun laws comes as a community in neighboring Tennessee reels from a mass school shooting that left six people, including three children, dead.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers called for action after the school shooting in Nashville, but they differ on what action should be taken to address the gun violence crisis plaguing the U.S., causing a familiar partisan gridlock on how to move forward. The Nashville shooter used an AR-15-style rifle, not a handgun.
The North Carolina bill also will allow guns on some school properties where religious services are held, effective Dec. 1. The school targeted in Nashville was a small Christian school.
Before the North Carolina legislature overturned the governor’s veto, some local Democrats pleaded against loosening gun access so soon after the Nashville shooting.
“For us to come in this tone deaf about what happened in Nashville and to pretend that it doesn’t matter, to pretend that that might not be an issue that we’ve got to bring up, is disturbing — with a bunch of kids sitting up here,” said House Minority Leader Robert Reives, referring to the school group watching from the gallery.
North Carolina’s permit repeal takes effect immediately.
Contributing: Associated Press