Political News

NC and DC gun control debate heats up

Posted April 13, 2013
Updated April 14, 2013

— Months after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, the national conversation on gun control remains a heated one. 

Saturday, a group of North Carolina mayors held an event in support of what they call "Common Sense Measures to Reduce Gun Violence." This comes on the same day as the mother of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shooting used the opportunity to fill in for President Barack Obama during the weekly radio and Internet address. She made a personal plea from the White House for action to combat gun violence.

"Thousands of other families across the United States are also drowning in our grief," said Francine Wheeler, choking back tears in the address broadcast Saturday. "Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy."

Organizing for Action, the group that organized Saturday's rally at the Wake county courthouse is pushing for Washington lawmakers to pass tougher gun laws.

"These are reasonable measures we are talking about," said Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe. 

The Senate is considering a bill that would expand background checks for gun purchases. It also strengthens laws against gun trafficking and provides more money toward school security. The bill passed its first hurdle on Thursday, and senators will vote on amendments to the legislation in the coming week.

However, its fate in the Republican-controlled House is uncertain.

Shortly after the vote Thursday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the voices of the Newtown families may have been the decisive factor.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell does not support the proposed bill. "The government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their second amendment rights," McConnell said. 

At the core of the debate the question remains - will expanded background checks keep guns out of the hands of people who would do bad things with them?

David Forvendel, a range officer at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center, doubts that new laws would have that effect. 

"It just adds additional things law-abiding citizens have to go through that does not solve the problem. It does not make sense to me,"  he said.

Holcombe disagrees saying that this bill will decrease gun violence. "Will it stop all of it? No, but we have to start somewhere" Holcombe said.  


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