One year later, Sandy Hook shooting still spurs gun debate in NC

Posted December 12, 2013

— Saturday marks one year since a shooter killed 26 people – 20 children and six adults – at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

The tragedy tore open wounds far beyond Connecticut. It spurred Kaaren Haldeman of Durham to join the national nonprofit, Moms Demand Action, to push for tougher gun laws.

“It hurt really deeply and affected me intensely. I have a child the exact same age as those children, and so I knew what those parents had stolen from them,” she said.

Haldeman says she was frustrated when momentum to expand firearm purchase background checks hit a wall in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve allowed too easy access to too many firearms for too many people for too long,” she said.

Not only did new regulations fail, gun sales boomed at places such as the Personal Defense and Handgun Safety Center in Raleigh.

“A lot of it was fear buying. A lot of it was concern with new legislation from Congress or pending legislation and concern their rights might be infringed,” said shop owner Mile Tilley.

Like many of his customers, Tilley was concerned and said he was convinced Congress was going to restrict those rights. When Congress didn’t, Tilley says, he was surprised.

“I think it was a lot of calls by their constituents who lobbied, wrote and emailed. I know a lot of our customers were voicing their concerns,” he said.

In Wake County, handgun permit requests soared to nearly 20,000 through October – a 35 percent increase over the same time last year, before Sandy Hook.

The Republican-led state legislature responded to that sentiment. They expanded conceal carry laws, allowing handguns in parks, restaurants and bars. Guns are now legal in locked vehicles on school grounds. Through October, records show conceal carry permit requests are up 47 percent in Wake County.

Haldeman says her group won't stop fighting for broader background checks and tougher gun restrictions.

“We disagree with this as a safety measure. We actually believe this makes us less safe,” she said.

Tilley eyes a different target.

“It doesn’t come down to the government. It comes down to each and every one of us, and we all need to be diligent,” he said. “We need to be responsible firearm owners, and we need to make sure people (who) need help get help.”


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  • fishon Dec 16, 2013

    The most recent shooter in Colorado killed himself when an armed school resource officer entered the room.

  • lopo Dec 16, 2013

    I still like to hear one law proposal on how we will take guns away from crimminals.

  • robertbsmith1 Dec 16, 2013

    Same old argument "Gun sellers are accomplices of crimes" yeah....... and spoons made me fat.

  • Get your IDs Dec 16, 2013

    It's a debate because the media refuses to let it go until all guns are banned.


    well libs think you are too irresponsible to handle your own money or a gun. Thats why they are always trying to take both of them.

  • Get your IDs Dec 16, 2013

    I notice the shooting out in CO has been somewhat buried since the guy was an admitted socialist and not some right wing kook. The media doesnt know what to do with stories that dont fit their template.

  • busyb97 Dec 13, 2013

    They are, as usual, looking at the symptom, not the cause of the problems. The MENTAL HEALTH treatment issues and drugs being used on the mentally ill. How many of the mass shootings were committed by someone with an actual mental illness? By an 'actual' illness, I mean one that is legit, not one they slap a label on so that we are all branded as mentally ill (they'd love to use that angle to get guns away, I'm sure).

    Criminals and mentally ill will not follow the rules. The only ones who suffer from overreaching gun control will be the private citizens who actually try to follow the rules. And how many MORE lives will be lost as a result when someone can't protect themselves from those law-abiding criminals.

  • meeper Dec 13, 2013

    It's a debate because the media refuses to let it go until all guns are banned.

  • Ex-Republican Dec 13, 2013

    "It's the media and the liberals that spur the gun debate. The people of Newtown would like closure. Leave them alone, allow their wounds to heal just a bit." Offshore

    Excellent point! The media sensationalizes these tragedies for ratings and web page hits. Liberal politicians play the blame game while doing absolutely nothing for the mentally ill that commit these crimes.

  • disgusted2010 Dec 13, 2013

    In 2006-2008 the FBI (NICS) referred 230,131 cases to ATF for investigation (Denials based on prohibited criteria). 21,280 or less than 10% were actually sent to the field for investigation by ATF HQ. 6966 were actual criminal violations of the Brady Act. 392 were referred by ATF for criminal prosecution. 138 resulted in convictions. This is less than one half of one percent that result in convictions.

    Based on this information I think it is safe to conclude that given 2500 ATF sworn ATF agents conducting such investigations there is no strain on the agency or fault of the field personnel. There is obviously a policy problem on the part of ATF or the US Department of Justice in emphasizing the investigation and/or prosecution of these cases. If they are not going to enforce the laws then why are the laws on the books?


  • junkmail5 Dec 13, 2013

    NFA is a Treasury Agency, not part of BATFE.- disgusted


    Under how you can get an NFA firearm-

    "By transfer after approval by ATF of a registered weapon from its lawful owner residing in the same State as the transferee.
    By obtaining prior approval from ATF to make NFA firearms"

    Notice how the _ATF_ has to approve your paperwork?

    The NRA has nothing to do with ATF.- Disguested

    Wrong again.

    The congressman who wrote most of the laws handcuffing the ATF -openly admit- the NRA wrote the bills for him.

    Sworn ATF agents dont inspect FFL unless they are conducting a criminal investigation.- disgusted

    You mean like for SELLING GUNS TO FELONS like we WERE TALKING ABOUT?

    I agree someone needs to fact check... but it ain't me.