Raleigh, NC – The North Carolina coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released a letter urging lawmakers to reject HB 562, legislation that would repeal North Carolina’s requirement that all prospective handgun buyers pass a criminal background check and would allow violent felons and other dangerous people to buy guns from unlicensed sellers with no background check, no questions asked. Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a national coalition of mayors that, together with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, formed Everytown for Gun Safety last year. The full letter, signed by ten mayors from cities representing more than one million North Carolinians, can be found here.
The letter reveals new data obtained from county sheriffs in five of North Carolina’s six most populous counties that shows sheriffs denied 3,405 gun permits to dangerous people—including violent felons and domestic abusers—in 2014 alone. At that rate, sheriffs would have denied more than 10,000 permits across the state last year.
The letter also cites wide consensus across the state against the legislation, including among law enforcement and the 87 percent of North Carolinians who support background checks on all gun sales.
“The pistol purchase permit system is the only mechanism that blocks these thousands of would-be handgun buyers from getting armed with no questions asked. If HB 562 becomes law, any of these dangerous people can simply find an unlicensed stranger online or at a gun show, and buy a handgun with no background check,” the letter states.
“To protect the lives of our constituents, we must be empowered to enforce our gun laws, and our background check system is a vital law enforcement tool. It saves lives and keeps guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and others who are prohibited by law from possessing them.”
Also today—in honor of the first-ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day—North Carolina Moms will wear orange and deliver petitions signed by more than 3,000 North Carolinians to the General Assembly calling on lawmakers to reject HB 562.
The event is part of a national campaign called “Wear Orange” that brings together a broad coalition of leading organizations, cultural influencers, mayors, Members of Congress, community leaders and activists to amplify existing efforts to reduce gun violence in America. The idea was inspired by a group of Chicago teens who asked their classmates to commemorate the life of a slain friend by wearing orange. They chose the color because hunters wear orange to announce themselves to other hunters when out in the woods. Orange acknowledges that America has a proud heritage of responsible gun ownership, while also reflecting the value of human life.