Online Originals: Push to pass bill in NC over gun rights meeting with some mixed results, call to action

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Our country has experienced over 100 mass shootings since the start of 2021, including two in the past couple of weeks.

To put that into perspective, March 25 is the 83rd day of 2021. That means that on average, there has been more than one mass shooting each day.

Government leaders in North Carolina are looking toward legislation as the solution to these devastating numbers. That includes House Bill 134.

North Carolina congressional leaders are pushing for the new bill, which aims at protecting second amendment rights. Provisions of the bill also include placing concealed firearms in the hands of school faculty, EMS workers and religious institutions, to name a few.

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But many North Carolinians are against this bill, saying it will do more harm than good.

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence held a press conference to advocate for stronger gun laws. Community leaders gave their expertise and experiences.

One of those leaders is Rev. Vance Haywood from St. John’s MCC, a church in Raleigh. Haywood was formally an EMS frontline worker. He said he knows the struggles of EMS workers and putting a gun in those situations could prove more deadly.

Guns don’t belong in our ambulances. And it mounts more responsibility on a profession that is already challenged by wage inequality and burnout. We should focus on patient care, not trying to secure a weapon. It stands to make EMS providers targets.

Rev. Vance Haywood, St. John’s MCC

Other advocates against the bill are leaders of the organization MomsRising. Jessica Boroughs is a senior campaign director for the group and said passing House Bill 134 would be a grave and potentially deadly mistake. When it came to hosting firearms in classrooms, she had this to say:

North Carolina moms oppose House Bill 134. This legislation would not protect anyone’s rights, instead, it would put our children in danger. It is ill-conceived, reckless and truly dangerous to allow concealed firearms at any school at any time.

Jessica Boroughs, MomsRising

Part of HB 134 would push to allow concealed firearms in religious institutions, whether that be religious leaders or congregation members being allowed to carry. That’s something Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh said he doesn’t agree with.

Regular congregates, people in the community, who are not trained and who are not capable, and certainly in a crisis cannot be relied upon to properly use their firearms, puts everyone in threat.

Rabbi Eric Solomon, Beth Meyer Synagogue

Solomon said he understands that people want to feel protected and that they feel good to feel like they can protect others. But he said in certain situations, it is simply more dangerous than anything else.

NC state Rep. Marcia Morley also joined the conference. She is one of the state’s leaders against the bill. She and colleagues filed a discharge petition to get the bill out of the Rules and Operations Committee but to no luck.

House Bill 134 currently awaits approval in the North Carolina Senate.

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