NC Lt. Gov Blasts Governor For Upholding Jim Crow Gun Law

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that would have repealed the state’s pistol purchase permit law isn’t going over well with the state’s Lt. Governor. Mark Robinson, a Second Amendment activist who surprised a lot of political pundits when he won statewide election last year, is out with a new op-ed co-authored with Grass Roots North Carolina’s Paul Valone and is taking the governor to task for keeping a relic of the Jim Crow era in place.

Even gun control stalwarts like Mecklenburg County’s Sen. Natasha Marcus acknowledge the potential Jim Crow origins of the permit law, as they should. Professor Clayton Cramer, author of “The Racist Roots of Gun Control,” posits that its vague “good moral character” requirement was actually doublespeak for race.

According to a North Carolina Law Review paper, discrimination in permit denials exists even today with “…Black applicants experiencing a rejection rate of approximately three times the rate of White applicants.”

State Attorney General Josh Stein claims repealing the pistol purchase permit process would “make North Carolinians less safe,” saying: “Two years after Missouri’s permit to purchase law was repealed, the firearm homicide rate spiked by 25%, and the firearm suicide rate went up by 14%.”

But that’s not the whole story. Although Missouri’s murder rate rose 17% relative to the rest of the U.S. in the five years after repeal, it actually increased by 32% during the five years before repeal, meaning Missouri’s increasing murder rate actually slowed after repealing purchase permits.

In other words, there are plenty of reasons to want to get rid of the pistol purchase permit law that’s been on the books since 1919. There’s the racist reason for the law’s original implementation, the disparate impact still seen today when it comes to denials of Black applicants, and the massaging of data on the part of gun control fans to make it seem like removing the pistol purchase permit requirement will lead to a surge in violence. And if all those reasons aren’t enough, there’s also the fact that even the state sheriffs association came out in favor of repeal.

Cooper’s veto is just another assault on Second Amendment rights, and his reasoning behind the veto was construed with cherry-picked facts that fit into his personal agenda. It is a shame that our governor would rather play partisan games than sign common-sense legislation.

By voting to override Cooper’s veto of HB 398, legislators would eliminate another vestige of Jim Crow while bringing gun purchase background checks into the 21st Century.

Unfortunately, the odds of a veto override happening are about the same as Gov. Roy Cooper calling on lawmakers to pass a Constitutional Carry bill. The pistol purchase permit repeal passed out of both the House and Senate with comfortable majorities, but not enough to override the governor’s veto. In order for that to happen Republicans would have to convince several Democrats to switch their original vote and join their GOP colleagues to override the Democratic governor’s veto. I’d love to see it happen, but I don’t think it’s a serious possibility.

Instead, gun owners and Second Amendment activists are going to have to continue to make their case for repeal over the next few months before re-introducing the measure in the 2022 legislative session. If Democrats continue to hold fast to the Jim Crow-era gun control law, North Carolina Republicans should make that a key issue in next year’s legislative elections, while providing their ideological opponents with the opportunity to do the right thing by voting for the repeal of the discriminatory and subjective pistol purchase permit requirement. Make Democrats decide; are they going to side with sheriffs and Black North Carolinians who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights, or the gun control lobby intent on keeping the Jim Crow gun control law on the books?

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET