NC Republican lawmakers travel to Virginia to oppose gun reform bills

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A group of Republican North Carolina lawmakers traveled to Richmond, Va., for Monday’s rally to oppose a series of gun reform bills being advanced by the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature.

Rep. Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort/Craven) wrote a letter last week that was signed by dozens of House GOP members decrying what he described as an “attack.”

“With the recent elections, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and their God-given rights are coming under attack from their own government,” the letter reads.

Kidwell went to Richmond along with Republican representatives Bobby Hanig and Michael Speciale to deliver the letter to Republican members of the commonwealth’s House of Delegates.

“Well, I think it was important that we show Virginia and the citizens of Virginia that the state of North Carolina does still stand with them,” said Kidwell.

Democrats won control of Virginia’s government in last year’s election and quickly began advancing a series of reform measures at the start of January’s legislative session.

Those include: limiting handgun purchases to one every 30 days, universal background checks and a “red flag” law, which allows a judge to order authorities to temporarily take a person’s guns if they’re found to be a danger to themselves or others.

Similar bills have been introduced by Democrats in North Carolina, but the Republican-controlled legislature has not moved them forward.

The same day Kidwell circulated his letter at the legislature, members of Moms Demand Action rallied at the General Assembly, encouraging legislators to take up gun reform.

“We are watching and we are advocating for commonsense gun safety,” said Claire Kempner. “Legislators are going to have to consider that in November if they want to be re-elected.”

Kempner emphasized the “red flag” law as a potential way to reduce gun violence, particularly suicides.

According to the most recent data from the CDC, North Carolina experienced 1,430 firearm-related deaths in 2017. The firearm death rate in North Carolina was 13.7 per 100,000, which is higher than the U.S. firearm death rate of 12.0 per 100,000 people.

“There are ways that we can reduce that number significantly that doesn’t involve removing the Second Amendment,” said Kempner.

Rep. Speciale responded, “I can tell you it’s going to be abused. People are going to use it to get even: girlfriends, boyfriends will use it to get even.”  

Since Democrats won in Virginia, more counties in North Carolina have begun passing Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions. The measures are symbolic and meant to show opposition to any similar laws passing in North Carolina.

According to news reports and meeting minutes, the following counties have passed these resolutions: Cherokee, Cleveland, Davidson, Lincoln, McDowell, Rowan, Rutherford, Stokes, Surry and Wilkes.  

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