RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper (D) urged lawmakers in Raleigh and Washington to pass a series of bills after the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, but Republican state House Speaker Tim Moore criticized some efforts by Democrats to restrict gun access as “disingenuous.” 

In a video, Cooper called on federal lawmakers to pass a universal background check law and ban assault weapons. 

He also urged state leaders to close a permit loophole for shotguns and rifles and to pass a red flag law. That would allow a judge to temporarily take guns from someone found to be a threat to themselves or others. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have a law like that. 

“What on earth is more important than protecting our children?” Cooper asked. “We need Republicans in North Carolina and across the country to come to the table and pass these bills or we need to choose new leaders.” 

Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) mentioned some of the steps the legislature took a few years ago when they formed a committee on school safety, including additional funding for school security and for law enforcement to track potential threats. 

“There are evil people in this world, unfortunately. And, I think, if it’s about gun control, that the left always wants to talk about, I think disarming law abiding citizens is not the way to make people safer,” he said. “But, there’s got to be some mental health issues that are underlying, those kinds of things, that someone is so disturbed.” 

Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham County), a former judge, has been one of the leading advocates for implementing a red flag law in North Carolina.

“But, there has been no conversation. Yesterday on the floor of the House all we did was have a moment of silence. And, tragedies like this don’t call for moments of silence. We can be doing something,” she said. “It can’t go on like this. Eventually, we are going to get commonsense gun safety. It has to happen. Otherwise, we’re going to see this carnage continue.” 

She’s also backed a bill to require a permit for the purchase of a long gun.  

“It’s a symptom of bigger problems. And, I think then trying to use those things to affect law-abiding citizens owning guns is disingenuous,” said Moore.

He said the state needs “to invest more in mental health resources.” It’s unclear if legislative leaders will propose additional funding in the state budget for that. Negotiations are still underway. 

Gov. Cooper, saying he has heard that argument before, pointed out the state would receive billions of dollars for healthcare by expanding Medicaid.  

This week, Senate Republicans filed a bill to do that and to make other changes aimed at increasing access to healthcare. Even if the Senate passes it during the current session, Speaker Moore said it still doesn’t have enough support in the House and wouldn’t be taken up until next year.