Gov. Cooper vetoes concealed carry bill

Gov. Roy Cooper is pictured in a file photos from Wednesday, February 14, 2018 in Raleigh.

RALEIGH – Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 43 on Friday, which would have expanded concealed carry laws to include places of worship that are shared with a school campus, as long as the worship activities do not take place during school hours.

“For the safety of students and teachers, North Carolina should keep guns off school grounds,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement with the veto.

House Speaker Tim Moore said of the veto, ” It is a narrowly targeted legislation that simply allows North Carolinians to exercise their Second Amendment rights at a religious meeting place that is also the location of a school, as long as it is outside school operating hours. North Carolina must always be steadfast in protecting our Second Amendment rights and our religious liberty.”

House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) also released a statement after the veto critical of Cooper’s decision.

“Moments ago, Gov. Cooper vetoed SB 43, a common sense bill that extends gun rights to places of worship that also have a private school, as long as the church allows it and it does not take place during school activities. Guns are already allowed in churches if they so choose,” Bell said.

Bell also included part of a statement from Democratic state Rep. Abe Jones (R-Wake), who said, , “This bill speaks specifically to a situation where education property and a church are combined. They have a right to protect themselves when worshiping. That’s all this is doing.”

The bill did attract bipartisan support, with veto-proof majorities in both the N.C. House and Senate, if the legislators vote the same way. However, legislative Democrats have sided with Cooper on numerous veto override votes in the past five years, including this year’s school reopening bill.