Dear Representatives,

I’m writing to you hoping to get an answer to a simple question: why did you change your vote on the Second Amendment Protection Act? During the legislative session, you voted for the measure, but after Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill, you switched your vote and opposed the act during a veto override vote this week. Why?

Was it simple partisanship? After all, Cooper hasn’t had a veto overturned since you and your fellow Democrats were able to end the Republican-controlled legislature’s veto-proof majority with your pickups in the 2018 elections. You’ve so far allowed Gov. Cooper to get his way, even if it means switching your votes so that the veto override fails. Does it just boil down to red versus blue?

If so, why not simply vote against the bill the first time around? Did you think that Gov. Roy Cooper might actually sign the bill, since its provisions were entirely uncontroversial?

House Bill 652 would have allowed law-abiding citizens who hold a concealed handgun permit to carry a handgun to defend themselves and their loved ones when attending religious worship taking place on private property that is both a school and place of worship if it does not prohibit firearms. This would have empowered private property owners to set their own security policy rather than the state imposing a one-size-fits-all solution. Last year, an armed citizen defended his church against an individual in Texas. This worshiper, Jack Wilson, was able to take action because of similar NRA-backed legislation in Texas.

The final bill also would have required sheriffs to accept a refresher training course rather than a full course for individuals who have let their concealed handgun permit lapse, so long as it is more than 60 days and less than 180.

The bill also would have allowed certain first responders to lawfully carry on the job when assisting some law enforcement like SWAT​​, but Gov. Cooper didn’t say anything about that portion of the bill in his veto message. No, his entire objection was that HB 652 would put students and faculty at risk by allowing gun owners to lawfully carry in a church service that takes place on private property that includes a school.

This is a fairly minor bill, all things considered, but it’s still a good piece of legislation. After all, churchgoers can already lawfully carry in houses of worship that don’t have schools attached or aren’t held in a school building outside of classroom hours. This would simply extend that same right to parishioners in some smaller congregations, as well as recognize the private property owner’s rights to allow concealed carry if they choose to do so.

Given that, along with the fact that Roy Cooper used to be pretty good on Second Amendment issues, I can possibly buy the argument that you believed he’d sign the bill.

That still leaves the question of why you switched your vote. Did you tell yourself that of course you’d override the governor if it were something that was truly important, but this bill just wasn’t worth the fuss? Did you think about how some of your constituents might feel about that attitude, especially if they attend a church that would have been covered under this bill? I’m guessing not.

To each of you representatives; Chaz Michael Beasley, Jean Farmer-Butterfield, Joseph John, Sr., Marvin Lucas, Garland Pierce, and Brian Mills Turner.. congratulations on keeping Gov. Cooper’s veto streak intact at the expense of the Second Amendment rights of your constituents.

I’m just not convinced that whatever benefits you derive from towing the party line will outweigh the risks to some of the churchgoing members of your district, and I think you owe your constituents an explanation. If it’s “At the end of the day, I’m going with Party over principle,” so be it. The voters will decide whether or not they want that type of politician electing them when they go to the polls in November. If there’s some other compelling reason as to why you decided to switch your vote at the last possible minute, I’m sure they’d love to hear it.