NC lawmakers roll out gun control proposals on Parkland anniversary

February 15, 2019

One year after 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., several North Carolina lawmakers called Thursday for a variety of gun restrictions in this state.

The omnibus gun bill they filed, dubbed the Gun Violence Protection Act, includes provisions that would require background checks on all gun purchases, prohibit high-capacity magazines, ban bump stocks and raise the age to purchase an assault-style weapon from 18 to 21.

“It’s sad we have to be here on Valentine’s Day in remembrance of what happened a year ago in Parkland,” said Rep. Marcia Morey, D-Durham, one of the sponsors of the bill. “It’s not just Parkland. It’s not just mass shootings. It happens in our communities every day.”

Morey and other sponsors ticked off gun violence statistics:

“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” said Rep. Christy Clark, D-Mecklenburg, a former state director for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Sponsors wore orange ribbons at a news conference to announce their bill, and members of Moms Demand Action carried a bouquet of 17 orange roses for the Parkland victims and held up note cards with the names and ages of the victims.

Previous gun control measures have gone nowhere in the Republican-controlled General Assembly in recent years. Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, said she has filed bills every legislative session since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, but none has every gotten a committee hearing.

“This state has gone the exact opposite direction we need to be going,” Harrison said, noting the legislature has expanded gun rights in recent years to allow firearms in parks, in locked cars at schools and other locations where they were previously barred.

But sponsors said they believe public sentiment has shifted since the Parkland shooting, and they are confident some of their proposals will succeed this year.

“There isn’t an absolute right to own a gun without any safety measures or restrictions,” Morey said.

But House Speaker Tim Moore, who has bottled up previous gun control measures, suggested a similar fate awaits House Bill 86.

“I’m a solid supporter of the Second Amendment,” said Moore, R-Cleveland. “I think that, when it comes to laws respecting guns, we need to make sure that law-abiding citizens do not have their rights infringed.”

Other provisions in the bill include the following:

“This is not political. It’s about lives and safety for children and people in our communities,” Morey said.

Some GOP House members filed another gun omnibus bill on Tuesday that, among other provisions, calls for eliminating the requirement to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.