Opinion: Keep gun safety measures in North Carolina

ByBecky Ceartas, Executive Director for North Carolinians Against Gun Violence via WTVD logo
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
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This is an opinion piece submitted to ABC11. The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of ABC11.

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House Bill 1148 increases the risks of the human damage caused by firearms and should not be passed. Here's why North Carolinians Against Gun Violence is opposed to the measure.

First, a quick look at present North Carolina law: The current law requires anyone who want to carry a handgun under their clothes or in a purse to get a concealed carry permit.

Currently, state law also places sensible conditions for getting a gun permit: at least eight hours training, a gun-range test, background checks on local, state and federal levels, and a six-month waiting period.

If passed, HB 1148 will eliminate all of these safeguards.

HB 1148 is reckless. It would put guns in the hands of people with no safety training and no permit to carry.

The result will be increased handgun violence, including fatalities, on city streets and places where the public gathers.

The public has gone on record for common-sense gun regulations. Consider this: 76 percent of gun owners and 88 percent of voters support safety training and a clean criminal record for those who carry a concealed handgun in public.

Despite public opinion, HB 1148 aims to lower the safety standards of our gun laws. Eliminating current law puts both the public and law enforcement at grave risk.

The bill is wrong-headed. Instead of forcing it on the public, our law makers should strengthen current law. An excellent safety opportunity exists by requiring North Carolinians to obtain licenses only from states with laws as safety conscious as our own.

In a display of a human tragedy, the North Carolina House began pushing this bill forward within forty-eight hours of the horrific killings in a gay bar in Orlando

On the personal level, I am a mom and I'm terrified at the thought of people carrying loaded weapons in public with no training. Additionally, I count among my good friends victims of gun violence and their families. Their stories are tragic and their losses could have been avoided by sensible rules about guns.

HB 1148 isn't sensible, it makes us less safe. Everyone should be alarmed by this bill and take action to defeat it.

In 2014 in NC, there were 1204 firearms-related deaths and 47 children died as a result of a firearm.

North Carolina's gun murder rate is 10% higher than the national average.

Gun violence is the 2nd leading cause of death in 0-17 year olds in NC, behind motor vehicle accidents.

Since its inception, the background check system has blocked 2.4 million guns from prohibited persons.

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