WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Gun violence continues to be a concern not only here but across the country.
“In 2019, nearly 1,400 people were killed with a gun in North Carolina. From 2019 to 2020, Charlotte saw their homicides double,” said Becky Ceartas, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence Action Fund.
This year, more than 19,000 people have been killed by gun violence nationwide. These numbers are causing experts to worry as we inch out of the COVID-19 pandemic and into summer.
“It is hard to say but what we do know is that 2020 was the most violent year of the 21st Century. We did see a large number of buying of guns,” Ceartas said.
Tracy Warren owns a gun shop in Washington. He sees increasing gun sales for several reasons.
“Anytime you have violence or unrest in an area, being social, people worried about looting, people worried about a lot of break-ins in their area, you will see an influx in law-abiding citizens buying to protect their home and valuables,” said Warren.
Warren is working to end the negative connotation surrounding guns.
“If they’re buying them from a legitimate dealer such as myself we do a background check,” he said.
As law enforcement across the U.S. braces for summertime, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office is taking a proactive approach.
“We certainly hope we don’t see that,” said Sgt. Lee Darnell. “We’re always running operations to remove dangerous individuals off the streets, to remove narcotics from the street, and to remove illegal weapons from the street. These activities will help remove the violence from the communities.”
The North Carolinians Against Gun Violence action fund has educational programs and resources that works to prevent gun violence. The organization is also calling on lawmakers to keep the Pistol Purchase Permitting system.