FILE - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive directive Monday that aims to strengthen gun safety.

Cooper, a Democrat, directed the State Bureau of Investigation and Department of Health and Human Services to take actions that would close gaps on background checks for firearms and safety measures.

“Recognizing that the odds are long for our current legislature to make real changes, today I signed an Executive Directive to my cabinet agencies to build on the work we’ve done to this point,” added Gov. Cooper. “Wishing, praying, and sending condolences alone just aren’t enough to prevent these tragedies. We have to take action.”

Cooper and other Democratic leaders have called for action on gun reform legislation on the heels of the El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio mass shootings on Aug. 3. However, bills that would restrict gun access have stalled in the North Carolina House of Assembly.

Monday’s announcement amplifies Cooper’s March 2018 directive to the SBI to do an inventory of North Carolina’s background check process. Around 280,000 criminal convictions that had previously been unreported were added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database as a result.

“This improves the quality of every background check and helps keep guns out of the wrong hands,” said Cooper in a statement released on Monday.

Cooper instructed the SBI to continue the inventory. He also mandated Behavioral Threat Assessment training for local law enforcement agencies. The training is intended to help law enforcement officials identify people who pose as “a potential risk to harming others” and connect them to appropriate services.

Cooper also ordered the SBI to increase domestic terrorism education and awareness.

The Department of Health and Human Services was ordered to promote safe storage of firearms and to put procedures in place to prevent and tackle a tragedy or suicide.

The Division of Emergency Management has to produce guidance for local governments to help share information and reunite loved ones in the event of a mass shooting or another major incident.

North Carolina experienced its own mass shooting in April that killed two people and wounded four at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“On average, 1,113 North Carolinians per year are killed by firearms, and a person is killed by a gun every seven hours in the state,” a statement from Cooper’s office said.

House Democratic leaders last week filed two discharge petitions to move House Bill 454 and House Bill 86 to the House floor for debate. Republicans have not responded.

Many North Carolinians showed their support for Cooper’s directive on Twitter. However, some followers expressed concerned over the gun confiscation process of HB 454, which would temporarily take guns from people who serve as threats to themselves or others. Some fear it would violate their Second Amendment rights.

Staff Writer

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.