'We Can End Gun Violence,' Say Gun-Reform Advocates
Thursday, December 10, 2015
DURHAM, N.C. – Starting tonight there are events in North Carolina to recognize Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend.
The nationwide event was planned in remembrance of the Sandy Hook anniversary, long before last week's deadly shooting rampage in San Bernardino, Calif.
Organizers, including Jennifer Copeland, executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches, say that while recent events have led some to express a desire to purchase firearms, it's important to separate reality from Hollywood.
"So we all watch TV and we think that we can shoot as straight and true as James Bond, while we're falling out of an airplane, but in order to use a weapon and use it well and accurately, you have to be trained to do that, and you have to be repeatedly trained to do it," she points out.
Recent efforts to enact universal background checks failed in Congress.
This summer, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill (HB 562) into law that only allows sheriffs to look back five years when reviewing a pistol purchase request, compared with the previous 20 years.
Tonight, there will be an Interfaith Gun Violence Prevention Vigil in Durham and one on Monday in Wilmington.
Supporters of gun reform point to states such as Missouri that have seen an increase in purchases of guns used in crime, gun trafficking and additional homicides since eliminating background checks.
Becky Ceartas, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, says recent events underscore the importance of swift and reasonable reform.
"Common sense gun reforms can and do work and protect us from dangerous individuals," she stresses.
A federal bill rejected last week that would have closed the loophole of private sales of guns with background checks would also have ensured that people on the no fly list are not able to get a gun.
As it stands, people on the travel watch list can purchase a gun like anyone else, Cearstas says.
"They are dangerous enough not to fly on our airplanes, but they can get a gun, no questions asked,” she laments. “We call on our lawmakers in Raleigh and D.C. to listen to the people and support universal background checks and other common sense gun violence prevention policies."
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