Less than 48 hours after the horrific Nashville school shooting that claimed the lives of six people, including three elementary school students, North Carolina Republican lawmakers voted to override Governor Cooper’s veto on a dangerous pistol permit repeal.
This repeal means that law enforcement no longer have a critical tool in stopping the purchase of a deadly weapon, regardless of an individual’s history of domestic violence or serious mental health problems.
On average, 1,470 North Carolinians die by guns every year, or one North Carolinian every six hours. Research shows that North Carolina children are 51% more likely to be killed by a gun than the national average. Guns are now the leading cause of death for children under the age of 18. Our children are enduring endless and traumatic lockdowns and drills at school, all the while mass shootings are continuing unabated.
Two Democratic lawmakers knew that enough is enough, and took extraordinary measures to be at the General Assembly to cast their vote.
Representative Marvin W. Lucas, from Cumberland County, had a long-planned surgery on his broken leg rescheduled in order to cast his vote to uphold the Governor’s veto. Representative Lucas, with his broken leg, made sure to get to Raleigh to vote against the pistol permit repeal and try to keep North Carolinians safer from gun violence.
Representative James Roberson of Wake County was facing the recent passing of his mother. He left his family, and made sure he was present to vote to support the veto. In his own grief Representative Roberson showed-up and did his part to protect his constituency.
While the veto was overridden by the Republican majority general assembly, these two democratic lawmakers joined the majority of their party’s colleagues that stood for reasonable gun laws. This type of leadership and courage is what we expect from our lawmakers and we are grateful Lucas and Roberson chose their duty to North Carolinians, even in the face of personal challenges and loss.
The chilling effect of easing gun restrictions couldn’t be understated, as less than 24 hours after the vote, there was a scare of a potential active shooter reported on the campus of Forsyth Tech; with one state Republican lawmaker, who voted for the permit repeal, reporting that her daughter, a guidance counselor at the school, is “hiding in the woods with 52 students.”