Gun violence: Triangle readers are torn up and fed up | Opinion

·4 min read
Nicole Hester/AP

Editor’s note: We received so many letters about the Nashville school shooting and the legislature’s repeal of the pistol permit system that we devoted this week’s Forum to those issues.

NC disappoints

I witnessed my father learn that his brother had been shot in a bank robbery and paralyzed from the neck down. I’ve also had to flee a mall with my kids during a suspected shooting. I dread what comes next.

Guns are tools, their job is to kill. They are very efficient, and are now the No. 1 cause of death for Americans under age 18.

As a society we have to work to protect others, keeping guns from those who should not be allowed access to them. The N.C. legislature just made that job so much harder by repealing the pistol permit purchase system and rejecting amendments for red flag laws and waiting periods to purchase firearms. Support legislators who will work to keep you safe. Vote like your life depends on it.

Kerry Sykes, Apex

I want action

In the wake of the Nashville school shooting, on the heels of the loss of two students near their school in Durham, I was disappointed to see the common-sense-defying veto override that repealed North Carolina’s pistol permit system.

Until recently, we had relatively strong gun laws. This repeal opens a loophole between state and federal laws which will allow people to purchase handguns at gun shows or online from strangers with no background check, no questions asked.

As a mother of a young child, the public health data is clear to me. Weak gun laws are killing our children. The gun violence epidemic requires immediate, decisive action, and it’s my No. 1 issue as a N.C. voter, a mother and a citizen with common sense. I am ashamed of the legislature’s insistence on prioritizing the “freedom” of a vocal, monetized minority over the safety of everyone in our state, especially the children. I demand action.

Leslie Schwartz, Raleigh

Stand up for kids

Once again we find ourselves asking how many children will be murdered before we do something about gun violence. Some Republican leaders say they do not believe legislation will help. It is simple: fewer guns, fewer deaths. How can that be so hard?

They legislate about gender — because they “care” about the children. They ban books — because they “care” about the children. They stop drag queens from reading to kids — because they “care” about the children. The only gun legislation we get leads to more guns, making them easier to get and use against our children. This has to stop. When will the GOP stand up for the children?

Cheryl Mitchell-Olds, Durham

NC senators

American citizens are going through the five stages of grief when it comes to mass shootings. We’ve been in denial for years, we’ve lived in anger and outrage, we continue to try to bargain with lawmakers. Here we are now, at the threshold of depression, possibly knocking on the door of acceptance.

It all is starting to seem hopeless. If Sandy Hook didn’t do it, nothing will. The NRA is too big. The gun lobby and its influence is insurmountable, and we are starting to feel like there is no use in trying. But I am still going to. We have to.

I’ll start by asking U.S. Sens. Ted Budd and Thom Tillis: Who do you serve? Is it the people of North Carolina or your donors?

North Carolina is united on common-sense gun laws. We are all terrified, senators. Our children do active shooter drills more frequently than tornado drills. Tell us, senators, who do you serve?

Lindsey Hamer, Weaverville

Voters, wake up

In North Carolina we have a Republican legislature, gerrymandered into office without effective opposition, able to pass laws opposed by the majority of our citizens. The recent gutting of N.C. pistol purchase system is an example. We have two legislative leaders who are able to push their political agenda on millions of other citizens. People want this to change, but if the majority don’t take the trouble to vote, nothing will change. The wake-up call is loud and clear.

Barton Holtz, Pittsboro

NRA influence

Yet another mass-shooting, another slaughter of children and another good week for the NRA and the legislators who accept their donations. As usual, we had a day of “thoughts and prayers” while President Biden renewed common-sense efforts to ban AR-15s. Now, we start with the lies about the government “coming to take your guns,” which will lead to higher gun sales, increased profits for gun manufacturers and more donations to the legislators who have sold out. So it’s not a bad week at all, as long as you ignore the carnage.

Mark Slattery, Raleigh

Vote your values

The GOP has become a willing hostage to the most regressive interpretation of the Second Amendment. Most North Carolinians want a common-sense balance between gun rights and personal safety.

In lieu of American flags, some in the GOP have begun to proudly wear AR-15 pins on their lapels. They’ve traded in displays of patriotism for weapons of war, now used on the home front to eradicate children, teachers, parents and anyone else cowering in their way.

Most North Carolinians are better than this. If we want our government to uphold our values, we need to vote our values.

BJ Rudell, Cary