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NC Senators not yet embracing universal background checks

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U.S. Senator Richard Burr U.S. Senator Richard Burr
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan U.S. Senator Kay Hagan
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Three in four Americans favor strict background checks for gun buyers, according to a Rasmussen poll released on Tuesday. Just 16 percent oppose the idea. 

But while the proposal remains popular among likely voters, neither of North Carolina's senators are on board just yet.

A television commercial currently running on stations in North Carolina is trying to force Democratic Senator Kay Hagan to come out in favor of universal background checks. In the ad, financed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an announcer asks voters to call Senator Hagan and tell her, "Don't protect criminals. Vote to protect gun rights and our families."

The senator hosted a job fair on Tuesday at Wake Tech Community College south of Raleigh, where she was asked about the issue.

"This is an issue that we are addressing," Hagan said. She said she remains on the fence until a specific bill is presented to her.

"The language hasn't been drafted yet and I want to look at the language," she said.  "Obviously, we have a Second Amendment right in our Constitution. People in North Carolina are telling me, 'Use common sense. Look at the safety issues and support the Second Amendment.'"

As for her Republican counterpart, Senator Richard Burr, his spokesperson says background checks at retail outlets and gun dealers is fine, but adds, "Senator Burr does not support a requirement for background checks for private, face-to-face transactions between individuals."

William Peace University political science professor David McLennan says despite the poll numbers, Hagan is approaching the issue with caution for fear of alienating civil liberties groups and some gun owners alike.

"You have a variety of groups making kind of a coalition, putting pressure on members of Congress to be very cautious, and that's what they're doing," McLennan said.

The Senate could vote on a package of new gun laws at some point this month.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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