Gov. Cooper calls for gun law changes to protect NC students

Gov. Roy Cooper

Gov. Roy Cooper talks about what priorities he thinks should be in the state budget

On the same day that students across the nation took part in a protest against gun violence, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said that he believes anyone who wants to buy an assault-style rifle in the state should have to get a permit in the same way they do if they want to buy a handgun.

More thorough background checks for those buying handguns.

The governor has also asked for a review of the current background check system in North Carolina. "I do too", Cooper wrote in the essay. Cooper said the expansion would allow for better diagnosis and treatment of people with mental illness and could turn violent.

"Right now, anyone buying a handgun in our state has to apply for a permit through the local sheriff's office, a process that includes a federal background check and an OK from the sheriff", Cooper said.

Cooper said it appears the federal government is moving to ban so-called "bump stocks" that allow a gun to function more like a fully automatic weapon, but if it does not, he says North Carolina should ban them at the state level. Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced it was working to make the devices illegal to own or sell, just days after President Trump ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to regulate them.

"We can also increase the number of school personnel who receive youth and adult mental health first aid training, which covers common mental health challenges that young people face and provides guidance for how to help them in both crisis and non-crisis situations", said Cooper.

He says, "This is a funding issue and I've said it time and time again, that as we put together our budget for the state, education has to be the priority, and if it's not we're going to find ourselves behind".

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