Hard Choices

Rep. David Price

Posted January 23, 2013

In January 2013, WRAL News conducted a poll of 500 North Carolina residents on gun policy and related issues. Before results of the poll were released, we asked the state's 2 Senators and 13 House members to respond to some of the same questions.

Rep. David Price, a Democrat who represents North Carolina's fourth Congressional district, answered our survey questions completely and offered comment on each.

Should criminal background checks be required for every person who wants to purchase a firearm? Or not?

a) Should
b) Should Not
c) Not sure

Price's answer: a) SHOULD

"We must do a better job of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and people with a history of violence or serious mental illness. Background checks have a long history in North Carolina, predating the Brady Law. But the present system is deficient in two respects: the data base of those who should not have access to weapons is spotty and incomplete, and almost half of the gun transactions, such as those at gun shows, are not covered. Requiring an effective background check, which takes just a few minutes, is a common-sense way to reduce gun violence—and it’s something that law-abiding gun owners and dealers support."

Do you think teachers who are licensed to carry a handgun (as with a concealed handgun permit) should or should not be allowed to carry their gun while in school?

a) Should
b) Should Not
c) Not Sure

Price's answer: b) SHOULD NOT

"Schools should have access to police protection, although it’s worth noting that some of our nation’s worst gun violence tragedies have occurred at schools with armed guards. Arming teachers would add a level of insecurity and anxiety to the school environment without addressing the basic issue."

Would you support or oppose a law that limits how much ammunition a gun can hold at once?

a) Support
b) Oppose
c) Not Sure

Price's answer: a) SUPPORT

"High-capacity ammunition magazines were used by the individuals who perpetrated the tragic mass shootings at Virginia Tech, North Illinois University, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek and Sandy Hook. These magazines only make it easier to mow people down, and they do not serve any legitimate sporting or hunting purpose. None of the hunters I know need 30 rounds to take down a deer."

Would you support or oppose a law that limits how much ammunition can be purchased at one time?

a) Support
b) Oppose
c) Not Sure

Price's answer: a) SUPPORT

"I am not aware of any legislation in Congress that would limit how much ammunition can be purchased at one time. However, news reports have indicated that the shooter in Aurora, Colorado, purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the internet without arousing the slightest suspicion. All other forms of explosive, including most fireworks, face stricter regulation than gun ammunition."

If the government were able to require a reduced amount of violence in entertainment, would it reduce the incidence of mass shootings a lot, a little or not at all?

a) A lot
b) A little
c) Not at all
d) Not sure

Price's answer: d) NOT SURE

"Reflections on our “culture of violence” are appropriate during this time of national tragedy, but the reality is that the link between violence in popular culture and violent acts by individuals has been very difficult to substantiate. That said, I would favor a stricter rating system and tighter age-appropriate access control."

Would you support or oppose a law requiring a nationwide ban on semi-automatic weapons, which automatically load the next bullet after a shot is fired?

a) Support
b) Oppose
c) Not sure


Price's answer: The question is unclear.

"Unfortunately, this question is unclear. I am not aware of any effort in Congress to ban all semi-automatic weapons, which often include handguns many gun owners have purchased for sporting or self-defense purposes. I believe that semi-automatic, military-style assault weapons that are easily modified to become fully automatic have no place in our cities and towns--and many military leaders, such as Colin Powell and Stanley McChrystal, agree. I also believe Congress should support efforts by state and local law enforcement agencies to make their communities—and the officers that protect them—safer by “buying back” unwanted firearms and distributing gun safes and locks. North Carolinians have a right to expect that they will be free from harm in their communities and their children will be safe in their schools. We as their elected leaders have a moral responsibility to make that expectation a reality."  

 


This story is part of WRAL's prime time special "Soft Targets, Hard Choices." We welcome your comments and questions. Send email to hardchoices@wral.com or use #hardchoices on Twitter.

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