Raleigh, N.C. — National gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety has bought airtime for a TV ad urging lawmakers to oppose House Bill 562, an omnibus gun bill that would relax restrictions on owning and carrying weapons in the state.
The 30-second spot is scheduled to run statewide on broadcast television this week.
House Bill 562 would repeal North Carolina's requirement that a prospective handgun buyer obtain a pistol permit from the county sheriff. That process includes a criminal background check.
At present, the pistol permit is the only criminal background check in place for private gun sales. Private sales, which advocates say constitute roughly 40 percent of all gun sales in the state, are not subject to federal background checks.
"The Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with common-sense gun laws," intones a narrator over a folksy soundtrack. "So why do some lawmakers in Raleigh want to repeal North Carolina's handgun background check system?
"When Missouri repealed their background check system, gun homicides spiked," the ad continues. "We don't need to make the same mistake."
While unusual, it's not unheard of for national advocacy groups to buy ads to oppose or support legislation under consideration by state legislators. However, a week-long statewide broadcast television buy represents a substantial investment, particularly before the proposal has even reached a chamber floor.
Everytown calls itself a "gun violence prevention organization." It includes the groups Mayors Against Illegal Guns, founded and initially bankrolled by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots group founded in response to the Sandy Hook school shootings in Connecticut.
The fate of the bill remains uncertain. It was pulled off a House Appropriations Committee meeting agenda last week at the request of sponsor Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, R-Mecklenburg, and has not yet been rescheduled.
Neither Schaffer nor co-sponsor Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, responded to WRAL News' request for comment. The National Rifle Association, which supports the proposal, has not yet responded, either.