Today is the 6-month anniversary of the Newtown Massacre.
In the wake of all of the recent gun violence, the North Carolina General Assembly has decided to take bold action. Unfortunately the action they’ve decided to take is entirely in the wrong direction. The new gun bill that’s being rushed through the General Assembly not only does away with the requirement to get a permit before buying a handgun, and allows concealed-carry holders to bring their guns into bars, but now has expanded that to include colleges, universities, and even elementary schools.
Now aside from the completely insane idea that having two people shooting it out in the middle of a bar or school is actually a solution to gun violence, there are much bigger dangers to this bill. First of all, there’s the issue of straw buyers (criminals getting people with clean records to purchase guns in states with lax gun laws to re-sell in places like New York with very restrictive gun laws). Not having to get a permit from the local sheriff makes it even easier for these buyers to purchase weapons to re-sell, and since straw buyers by definition have clean records no amount of expansion of background checks are going to stop them. Instead of preventing gun violence, Senator Buck Newton’s bill will in fact end up arming more criminals. A report from New York State listed North Carolina as the third largest source of illegal gun imports to their state last year. So, even though more New Yorkers will be shot with NC guns next year, at least Senator Newton has found our state a new cash crop.
The other issue I’d like to address is this issue of handgun suicides. Two thirds of handgun deaths every year are from suicides, and that’s around 20,000 people. Gun advocates almost always respond to these statistics by saying these people would just find another way, but in fact having a handgun in the house actually makes it twice as likely for a suicide attempt to succeed. I also personally find the idea of simply writing off 20,000 deaths disturbing.
So come to North Carolina, folks, have a shootout in one of our bars or schools, bring some guns home to your friends and family, and if anyone asks, tell ‘em Senator Newton sent you.