Democrats seek gun control legislation in North Carolina after Uvalde
Democrats in the state legislature made an emotional call for tougher gun laws at a press conference Thursday.
“We are here to honor the right of parents to see their child come home alive from school, the right of teachers to come home alive from their jobs, and the right of students not to have to go to school in fear. let them not come back,” Buncombe County Rep. Caleb Rudow told reporters.
The push for legislation in North Carolina comes after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers.
Rudow was joined by two Durham Democrats, Rep. Marcia Morey and Senator Natalie Murdock. Lawmakers urged Republicans to work with them to pass meaningful gun legislation before the legislature ends what is expected to be a very short session.
Democrats have introduced more than 10 gun bills in the State House since 2016, none of which made it to the House floor.
“We should debate it in committee; we should debate it in the House to find solutions that work for both parties,” Rudow said. “But instead, we are being granted a moment of silence in the House to honor the victims, our bills are hidden, and we have no discussion on how to stop gun violence in our state government.”
In the US Senate, Republican Senator from North Carolina, Thom Tillis, is working to negotiate a bipartisan gun control agreement. The News & Observer reported that Tillis was pushing for incentives for state red flag laws, stricter licensing for gun dealers, increased access to mental health, and stopping juvenile offenders from buying. weapons.
Republicans unlikely to support legislation
So-called “red flag laws” create a process by which firearms can be temporarily confiscated from a person if they are deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others. Morey introduced his own red flag law in the General Assembly last year and in the previous session, but it never passed.
Morey’s bill, House Bill 525, would allow people to apply to a court for an “extreme risk protection order” which, if granted by a judge, would require the gun owner in question to surrender his firearms. If the gun owner refuses, law enforcement is authorized to seize the firearms to carry out the order.
Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Republican, told reporters Wednesday night that he generally did not support red flag laws because of their potential to ban law-abiding citizens from owning firearms. .
“Many citizens are concerned about red flag laws,” he said. “Like many things, the devil is in the details, so it really depends on what exactly they offer.”
Republican House Speaker Tim Moore was also not interested in a possible red flag law.
“A lot of the legislation that’s being pushed by those on the political left is really just gun control and it would just take guns away from law-abiding citizens,” Moore told reporters on Thursday. “The thing you want to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good person with a gun.”
Last year, Republicans in the Legislature passed a bill to remove the requirement for a license to purchase a handgun. The bill was later vetoed by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.
Murdock suggested that some Republican leaders in the Senate might be open to laws regarding the safe storage of guns that would encourage safe practices by creating sales tax exemptions for gun safes and funding gun safety educational videos.
Murdock also introduced a bill to ban the sale of guns within about 1,300 feet of a school.
“We are not trying to stop gun sales,” said a press release from Murdock. “We try to ensure the safety of our students. We don’t need students to pass a dozen gun shops on their way to college.
Parents and students speak out
At the press conference, lawmakers invited students, teachers and activists to share their fears and outrage over gun violence.
Apex High School alumnus Leah Krevat spoke about her brother, who survived the 2019 shooting at UNC Charlotte.
“My brother ran the tutoring center and he was locked up for four hours,” she said. “He had to go from guardian to protective authority figure at 21. He was trying to keep everyone calm and we only got one text from him because he was trying to focus on everyone’s safety.
Krevat was joined by her mother, Madhavi, who said they both became involved in anti-gun activism following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“That day she begged me in tears to do something, to find a group or something to help stop the slaughter of children her age,” Madhavi Krevat said.
After that, the two joined Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action – offshoots of Everytown for Gun Safety, a national activist group.
Raleigh parent Sandra Herrera, speaking in Spanish, spoke about her 10-year-old son’s reaction to the shooting.
“My son said to me: ‘Mom, I want to homeschool'”, she says. “I didn’t have the words to answer”
According to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shootings in the United States, the country has already seen 252 mass shootings so far this year.
Writer Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan contributed to this report.
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