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North Carolina Democrats want new gun laws and mental health funding considered after Raleigh mass shooting
Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue lives in Raleigh’s northeast neighborhood where a shooter killed five people and injured two others outside their home or along a nearby greenway trail. “I have lived in the community of Hedingham for over 30 years,” Blue said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I never thought I would be in danger in this community where we raised our children until last week when we had a shooting that left five people dead.” The 15-year-old suspect is hospitalized in critical condition. “We always think, when we hear about the latest mass shooting on the news, that it can’t happen to us,” Blue said. “It is possible, and it has been. Democrats have been calling for common-sense gun safety measures for years. It is time these proposals were finally given serious consideration. For years years, Democrats have been unable to convince Republicans to consider tougher gun laws.Pro-gun activists and the National Rifle Association wield great influence in the legislature.The NRA Political Victory Fund is a trusted contributor to Republican politicians. In 2020, the NRA fund donated the maximum allowable to the campaigns of House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate Leader Phil Berger, and Republican gubernatorial and Lt. -Governor Dan Forest and Mark Robinson, Spectrum News reported.The offices of Moore and Berger did not respond to emails Tuesday afternoon seeking comment.Lawmakers were unable to resolve the issues because q Let the issues get political, said House Democratic Leader Robert Reives of Chatham County. The state needs bipartisan discussions on gun laws. “Imagine what could happen if we sat down and talked,” he said. “Let’s take this off the political table and be better.” Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, a Democrat from Wake County, listed the proposed gun laws he has introduced over the years that have not been heard by the committee – bills aimed at banning the purchase of firearms by those on the FBI’s terrorist watch list, banning stockpiles, and increasing the under 21 requirement for the purchase of assault weapons. “Is it time to discuss gun reform, or do we have to have another mass shooting?” he asked rhetorically. State Rep. Marcia Morey, a Democrat from Durham, has proposed three “Red Flag Act” bills over the years that have never been heard by the committee. Red flag laws allow people to ask a court to take someone’s guns away for a period of time if they convince a judge that the person is a danger to themselves or others. Nineteen states have such laws. Morey said she was working on a fourth red flag proposal and talking to Republicans to incorporate their ideas. “We have to do something or this carnage will continue,” she said. Blue said the state needs to adequately fund mental health services for children and adults. He called for funding to enable schools to hire more psychologists. “Mental health is something that we have the resources to do something about,” he said. No motive in the Hedingham shooting has been publicly identified. Research has shown that most mass shooters do not have mental illness. Mental health professionals say people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of crime than to commit it. Blue said it was important to have both effective gun laws and enough school staff to help struggling students.
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