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NC governor announces gun safety measures, calls for action on 'red flag' bill

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in News & Features

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday that he signed an executive directive meant to strengthen background checks for gun buyers.

Cooper said he signed the directive to his Cabinet agencies to "build on the work we are already doing" around gun violence and safety.

"A background check is only as good as the information in the database," Cooper told hundreds of safety and education leaders at the Department of Public Safety's Back to School Safety Summit on Monday afternoon at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

"Over the last 14 months, more than 284,000 convictions have been added to the federal background check system," Cooper said. Those were added by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System working group, which Cooper convened last year to identify and fix gaps in firearm background checks. The State Bureau of Investigation was directed to lead the work.

Cooper expressed disappointment in Republican leaders not wanting to take up two House bills -- HB 86, which includes several gun regulations, and HB 454, described as a "red flag" bill.

Rep. Marcia Morey, a primary sponsor of HB 454, said last week it would allow family members or law enforcement to petition a judge for what is known as an extreme risk protection order, which would restrict a person's access to firearms if there was evidence of them posing danger to themselves or others.

 

Last week, House Democrats filed two discharge petitions in an attempt to move those two gun regulation bills from committee to the House floor for debate. So far that has been unsuccessful, as has another discharge petition filed for HB 312, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would make hate crimes a felony and require training for law enforcement and prosecutors.

Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said Monday that gun violence is a public health problem.

The executive directive also tells:

-- SBI to give local law enforcement agencies Behavioral Threat Assessment training.

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