July 23, 2015 – The misguided, irresponsible effort to repeal background checks in North Carolina’s General Assembly is now on its last legs after a vote this morning in the North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee rejecting a proposed repeal of North Carolina’s background checks laws. The bill now moves to the Senate floor without the repeal language.
Following a TV and digital campaign by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, last month legislators in the North Carolina House of Representatives had rejected efforts to roll back the state’s background check laws before sending the legislation to the House.
“It’s good news we are one step closer to seeing this misguided repeal effort wilt in the summer heat. Once again, legislators in North Carolina stood up the special interests who want to create new loopholes in North Carolina’s laws that make it easier for abusers and felons to get handguns. We know that states where background checks are required on handgun sales, no matter where they’re bought, are safer places to live – and that’s why we know that this repeal effort is irresponsible,” said Peter Ambler, Founder and 501(c)(4) Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “We look forward to seeing leaders in the North Carolina Senate follow the Judiciary Committee’s lead and protect background checks – not create new loopholes that let people buy handguns with no questions asked.”
Last month, ARS launched a targeted TV and digital advertising campaign urging North Carolinians to contact their legislators and urge them to oppose legislation repealing North Carolina’s background checks laws. On Wednesday, ARS began airing a 30-second TV ad titled “Safe”, urging North Carolinians to contact their legislators and tell them to oppose HB 562. (Watch “Safe”here.)
BACKGROUND ON ORIGINAL REPEAL EFFORT
Along with other changes weakening North Carolina’s gun laws, if enacted as proposed, House Bill 562 would have repealed North Carolina’s current “permit to purchase” system, which requires that any prospective handgun buyer pass a background check. Under HB 562, individuals currently prohibited from purchasing or owning guns – including convicted felons, individuals convicted of domestic abuse, and individuals adjudicated mentally ill – would be able to buy a handgun through an unlicensed seller without a background check.
ABOUT BACKGROUND CHECKS
Recent research shows that states that repeal permit-to-purchase laws and weaken background checks see increases in gun homicides. When Missouri repealed a similar permit-to-purchase background check law in 2007 that required background checks on all handgun sales, gun homicides increased by 23 percent in the state. According to a recent study from Johns Hopkins, that change alone resulted in between 55 and 63 additional homicides per year.
BACKGROUND ON GUN VIOLENCE IN NORTH CAROLINA
As of 2010, North Carolina’s gun murder rate was 10 percent higher than the national average. From 2001 to 2010, at least 11,000 people in North Carolina were killed by guns. There is also a lethal connection between gun violence and domestic violence in North Carolina. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in five of all homicides in North Carolina in 2011 involved family or intimate partner domestic violence, with half of those murders committed with a gun.