The refusal of Republican legislative leaders to negotiate in good faith over the state budget with the man North Carolinians have twice elected as their governor remains a scandal and a testament to the extremist views of the state’s Trumpist political right, but happily, that hasn’t stopped Roy Cooper from giving cause almost every day for caring and thinking North Carolinians to be thankful that he serves as the state’s chief executive.
The latest example: a pair of on-the-mark and politically courageous vetoes he issued yesterday.
The one to receive the most attention was his rejection of a bill advanced by the powerful gun lobby to repeal the state’s longstanding and highly effective handgun permitting system. As the Governor put it, by way of explanation:
“Gun permit laws reduce gun homicides and suicides and reduce the availability of guns for criminal activity. At a time of rising gun violence, we cannot afford to repeal a system that works to save lives. The legislature should focus on combating gun violence instead of making it easier for guns to end up in the wrong hands.”
In response, the good people at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence noted:
“There is clear evidence that repealing this law would be a dangerous and harmful change. In the years after Missouri repealed its handgun permit-to-purchase law in 2007, firearm homicide rates were 47% higher and firearm suicide rates were 24% higher, compared to controls. Conversely, Connecticut’s permit-to-purchase law, passed in 1995, was associated with 28% lower firearm homicide rates compared to control, and 33% lower firearm suicide rates compared to control, over the 22 years after it passed.”
Meanwhile, in another decision that will likely have an immediate and practical benefit for some of our state’s most vulnerable residents, Cooper vetoed a bill that would have removed some basic landlord-tenant law protections for people who find themselves living in motels. As the North Carolina Justice Center (parent organization to NC Policy Watch) explained earlier this summer as the bill was moving through the legislature:
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront that thousands of North Carolinians reside in motels as their primary residence due to the state’s ongoing affordable housing crisis. HB 366 – Regulatory Reform Act of 2021 removes tenant protections for motel renters, protections that have been the law in North Carolina for 30 years. If passed, HB 366 will only worsen the housing crisis for families struggling to find housing by increasing our homeless population and straining public resources.”
Thankfully, the Governor recognized this reality and bucked the demands of another powerful industry to issue the veto. As Cooper rightfully observed:
“This legislation is not the right way to ensure safety in hotels. It removes legal protections and allows unnecessary harm to vulnerable people, including families with children, who have turned to hotels and motels for housing in a time of need.”
Lets hope Democratic lawmakers, along with caring and thinking Republicans, vote to sustain both vetoes.