Cooper calling for expanded background checks for gun buyers

Gov. Roy Cooper
Gov. Roy Cooper in the gym at Columbus Career and College Academy on September 21, 2017. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY)

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is calling for expanding background checks for prospective gun buyers in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

During a Council of State meeting in Raleigh Tuesday, the governor expressed condolences to the victims, even ending the meeting on a solemn note in their honor.

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“I think that we should adjourn this meeting in memory with thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families,” he said.

His comments come after he requested that flags across the state stay at half-staff for the rest of the week.

The governor is also calling for changes when it comes to gun laws.

“Horrific, senseless tragedy in Las Vegas,” he said. “People are very frustrated with gun violence and we have to do what we can to stop it. I think it’s pretty clear that we need some policy changes.”

Exactly what does Cooper think those policy changes should be?

“I think expanded background checks may or may not have helped in this situation, but we do need to do that,” he said. “We need better health care coverage, making sure that mental health is emphasized because a lot of these shootings occur, people have mental illness or they give some signs.”

“We need to encourage people to report when they believe somebody may do something,” Cooper added.

The governor said he believes these changes can be made while still protecting people’s rights under the 2nd Amendment. He’s also urging Congress to talk about the issue openly.

“We need to protect people’s rights under the 2nd Amendment, but there are policy changes that can be made that can reduce gun violence and we need to do that,” Cooper said. “We’ve got to thank the first responders as well and I think we’ve got to tackle this problem of gun violence. We have to work to try to solve it. We have to work to reduce this kind of violence in the future.”