RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — Governor Roy Cooper vetoed a bill on Friday that would eliminate sheriff’s background checks for handguns, according to a statement released by the governor’s office.

Senate Bill 41, which the governor vetoed, is sponsored by Sen. Danny Britt (R-Robeson) and eliminates the background checks that sheriffs now conduct on local gun sales, which close loopholes in the checks already mandated for federal gun laws.

Under SB 41, sheriffs will lose the authority to issue or deny these permits based on criminal background checks and determining the safety and character of applicants.

The bill removes sheriffs’ authority to refuse a permit based on signs of mental illness, domestic abuse incidents that might not be captured in a national database or other indicators that a person could be a danger to themselves or others.

The bill also allows churches that operate with schools on their property to permit licensed conceal-carry weapons on campus when schools aren’t in session or related activities aren’t underway. The bill also provides some resources about safe storage training.

The 2023 North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force reports that gun deaths for children have increased by 231.3% between 2012 and 2021.

Guns are now the leading cause of injury and death for children in North Carolina, surpassing car accidents, the governor said.

“Eliminating strong background checks will allow more domestic abusers and other dangerous people to own handguns and reduces law enforcement’s ability to stop them from committing violent crimes,” Cooper said. “Second Amendment supporting, responsible gun owners know this will put families and communities at risk.”