Gabby Giffords’s super PAC is dropping six-figures into an ad buy in an effort to keep would be gun owners in North Carolina buying gun permits beforehand.
The group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, is coming out swinging with its television ad against a gun reform bill, HB 562, currently in the state House’s Rules, Calendar, and Operations committee that would end the current process of obtaining a Pistol Purchase Permit (PPP), from their local sheriff before one could buy a handgun.
Critics of the scheme contend that it is an outdated process and that current federal background checks more than replace the antiquated system. They further argue that the permit law has racist origins from the Jim Crow-era and was originally designed to deprive African Americans of the right to keep and bear arms.
However, gun control groups would disagree, calling the proposed change dangerous.
They have joined with the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, a former member of which appears in the ARS ad.
“As a sheriff for 28 years, I fought to keep our communities safe. But right now, some in the legislature want to repeal background checks on handguns. This will make it easier for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns,” says former Sheriff Wayne Gay of Wilson County. “When Missouri repealed their background check system, homicides shot up. I need your help. Tell the folks in Raleigh we need to keep background checks.”
Besides the ad buy from the Giffords group, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group and Moms Demand Action have done polling and purchased their own set of ad as well as hosted legislative lobby days and reached out through social media to keep North Carolina from repealing the background check requirement.
“Passing this dangerous legislation and sending it to the full House floor, over the opposition of North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, 87 percent of North Carolinians, and more than 100,000 Everytown supporters in the state is alarming,” said Sarah Green, leader of the North Carolina Chapter of Moms Demand Action in a statement.
The Bloomberg organizations echo Gay’s statement about Missouri’s 25 percent increase in murders following that state’s 2007 repeal of a similar requirement for pistol sales there.
The statement has its origins in research conducted last year by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health that in fact showed a 14 percent bump. However, the advocates do not mention the increase in homicide prior to repealing the law was actually higher than afterward.
The gun control groups have also obtained the support of ten urban mayors across the state who penned a letter to legislators opposing the bill.
“Letting felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people meet an unlicensed stranger online and buy a gun without a background check is a recipe for disaster,” said Green.
All the pressure seems to have had some effect on lawmakers, causing three House Republicans to cross the aisle in a narrow 14-13 vote on the measure last week in the Rules committee.
Second Amendment advocates point out that the objections by the sheriff’s group are something of a moving target, as background checks in the state would still have to go through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and that the argument made by sheriffs that they have better knowledge of the people in their county doesn’t hold water.
“First, NCSA insisted that sheriffs ‘know’ the people of their counties and ‘know’ who should or should not have a handgun,” reads a statement from Grass Roots North Carolina. “In truth, the increasing urbanization of the state makes that impossible and by insider reports, prior to issuing permits most sheriffs run only the NICS check which NCSA now claims is inadequate.”
Paul Valone, president of GRNC talked to Guns.com about the efforts by the national gun control groups to keep the state’s legacy permitting law intact.
“Even after twenty-one years of gun rights activism, and having pretty much seen it all, I continue to be amazed at the capacity of the Bloomberg machine to lie,” said Valone.
“Nearly everything they have said about House Bill 562 has been a lie, from their claims that it would ‘abolish’ gun purchase background checks to their manufactured claim that Missouri experienced a 25 percent increase” in gun homicide after repealing its purchase permit law,” contends Valone.
“Right now, a few dozen hardcore leftists are masquerading — and distributing hit literature at the legislature — under the names Moms Demand Action, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Rising, and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence,” he said.
As a counter to the gun control ad buys, Valone’s group is mounted their own grassroots campaign.
“In response to Bloomberg’s nearly $1 million in television advertising, we released a radio campaign which we hope other states will emulate: It features real North Carolina mothers saying, ‘Hi. I’m Stephanie. I’m a North Carolina mother of two, and Michael Bloomberg doesn’t speak for me,’” explained Valone.
House Bill 562 is scheduled for committee hearings this week.