Probably no inherent right is protected less than the Second Amendment in this nation today. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has made this point repeatedly as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. This has put more onus on state legislatures to scratch and claw to expand a right enshrined in our Bill of Rights.
In North Carolina, one of the big Second Amendment stories over the last few years is that the expansion of gun rights has essentially stalled. This has happened during the recent past reign of Republican super-majorities too. North Carolina has been surpassed by other states, mainly red states that have enacted constitutional carry. Two states (Missouri and West Virginia) even passed constitutional carry by overriding vetoes from Democrat governors.
Another big story though is Gov. Roy Cooper’s radical departure from a more moderate stance on firearms. Remember, Cooper once had an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. I’ve written more extensively about his aggressive call for more gun control in a piece originally published in the Charlotte Observer titled, “Is Roy Cooper vulnerable on his gun control agenda?”
On July 2, Gov. Cooper vetoed House Bill 652, a bipartisan bill that eases restrictions on carrying in churches attached to a school, but not while school is in session. Basically, the bill creates equality under the law to carry in churches, despite the building’s locale or its ties to educational space. The legislation also eases some of the restrictions on concealed carry permit renewal and extends permits to EMT workers on the job and for some non-officers employed in law enforcement buildings. The legislation is also known as the “Second Amendment Protection Act.” I’ve already written how the reforms could potentially save lives.
The bill passed with enough votes in both chambers to override a veto but six Democrats changed their votes after Cooper’s veto, presumably to protect Cooper’s anti-gun agenda.
This was a very mainstream bill that should pass in a place like North Carolina, where hostility to firearms is less prevalent than California or other leading liberal states. It’s further proof too that if a certain party and its leaders solidify power in North Carolina, gun rights and Second Amendment protections will quickly be on the chopping block.