RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As more counties in North Carolina declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, one group is launching a campaign aimed at pushing state lawmakers to pass gun reform measures and potentially flip control of the General Assembly.
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is spending $250,000 on a digital campaign to promote reforms like universal background checks and red flag laws.
The first ad is called “North Carolina: On Notice.” The group says it’ll be seen on social media, primarily targeting suburban women and female African-American voters.
“This is absolutely an initiative to try and make something happen in North Carolina similar to Virginia,” said Carol Muth, a Raleigh co-lead for the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is part of Everytown.
Everytown notes it spent $2.5 million last year to help flip control of Virginia’s legislature to the Democratic Party. Since then, Virginia lawmakers have pursued a variety of gun reform bills.
In response to that, more than 20 counties in North Carolina have passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions, with some vowing not to use any local resources to enforce any new restrictions on gun ownership.
Johnston County unanimously passed a resolution Monday night to show support for Second Amendment rights but stopped short of declaring itself a “sanctuary.”
“Virginia’s a stepping stone. We all know that. It’s the beginning. And, it won’t be long before North Carolina is next,” said Thomas Reese, who pushed Johnston County commissioners to support the resolution. “We already know that too. So, we’re trying to make a statement now.”
Everytown says it plans to spend at least $60 million on this year’s elections nationwide.
“North Carolina is going to be a battleground state, and we are ready for the fight. Our legislators have done nothing to address the gun violence issue,” said Muth.
In launching the digital campaign, Everytown also released results from a new poll by Global Strategy Group showing support for some gun reform measures. The poll, which included a sample of 602 likely voters, found 79 percent support red flag laws.
Democrats have proposed such a law in North Carolina. A judge would be able to order someone’s guns temporarily taken from them if they’re found to be a danger to themselves or others. The poll also found 54 percent support “stronger gun laws” overall, with 9 percent supporting “less strong” laws.
Last month, more than 50 Republicans in the North Carolina House of Representatives signed a letter opposing the various gun reform bills being debated in Virginia. Three of those representatives traveled to Richmond the day of a massive rally to deliver the letter in person.
“I think it’s also a warning shot to the General Assembly in North Carolina that the people of North Carolina don’t want to see this happen there,” said Rep. Keith Kidwell (R-79th). “You would see exactly the same type of bills being submitted. They’re already submitting them now.”
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