Father Of Newtown Victim, Congressman Price, Morrisville Mayor Holcombe, And Local Gun Owners Hold Rally In Raleigh To Voice Support For Common-Sense Gun Laws That Help Save Lives

Jun 22, 2013, 10:30 ET from Mayors Against Illegal Guns

90 Percent of North Carolinians Support Background Checks That Help Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Criminals, Domestic Abusers, and the Severely Mentally Ill

Rally is Part of "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" Bus Tour; www.NoMoreNames.org

RALEIGH, N.C., June 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The father of a Newtown victim, U.S. Congressman David Price, Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe, local gun owners, and advocates gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina today to voice their support for common-sense background checks that help save lives. Participants also thanked U.S. Senator Kay Hagan for voting to support this life-saving measure, and they urged Senator Richard Burr to reconsider his position and take another look at bipartisan legislation sponsored by NRA A-rated Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey that would help keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Participants and attendees included: Neil Heslin, the father of 6-year-old Newtown victim Jesse Lewis; U.S. Congressman David Price; Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe; Joslin Simms, whose son Rayburn was murdered with a gun in Durham in 2005; Brinda Sousley, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; and Hilton Cancel, a local gun owner, former police officer, and board member of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence.

This past April, Senator Hagan stood with the 90 percent of North Carolinians who support background checks and voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey bill that would have closed dangerous loopholes that allow dangerous people to obtain firearms by requiring background checks for commercial gun sales. The legislation failed to become law, however, after a minority of senators -- including Senator Burr -- voted to block the bill.

"Not a moment passes that I'm not thinking about my murdered son, Jesse. He was especially on my mind yesterday as it would have been his last day of first grade," said Newtown father Neil Heslin. "We need to honor the memory of Jesse -- and the 33 Americans who are murdered with guns every single day in this country -- by calling for reasonable solutions to end gun violence. I've learned about the horrific reality of gun violence in this country, but I'm not giving up until everyone's kids are safer."

"The overwhelming majority of North Carolinians support background checks because they will stop criminals, the severely mentally ill, and other dangerous people from getting their hands on guns," said Congressman David Price. "I thank Senator Hagan for standing with the people of North Carolina by voting to support this common-sense, life-saving measure, but unfortunately some in Congress either haven't gotten the message, or are ignoring it."

"No community is immune to the threat of violence because our gun laws are so broken," said Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe. "The will of the people of North Carolina -- 90 percent of whom support expanded criminal background checks -- has been blocked by Congress. When will our elected leaders follow the lead of Senator Kay Hagan and pass into law what the American people have overwhelmingly demanded?"

"Responsible, law-abiding gun owners welcome common-sense background checks because they work without infringing on anyone's Second Amendment rights," said gun owner and former police officer Hilton Cancel. "In my years in law enforcement, I learned the consequences of a system that allows easy access to guns for criminals, the severely mentally ill, and other dangerous people. It's time to extend these life-saving background checks for the sake of public safety in North Carolina and across the country."

"North Carolinians continue to make it clear: 90 percent of us support comprehensive and enforceable background checks that will help keep guns out of the wrong hands," said Lisa Price, co-founder and former executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence. "We cannot rest while 33 American adults and children die from gun violence every day and many more are wounded. We admire leaders who support reasonable gun restrictions and urge others politicians to display the courage to work for the health and safety of citizens rather than to follow the dictates of the gun lobby."

The No More Names tour will provide an opportunity for the more than 90 percent of Americans who support background checks to drive home a message to our elected officials that our country needs common-sense gun laws. At each stop, participants will hold rallies with a broad coalition of supporters -- including police, survivors, domestic violence prevention advocates, mayors, and other elected officials -- to commemorate those we've lost and call on our leaders to stand with the American people on sensible gun policies. They will both applaud senators who voted to support comprehensive and enforceable background checks, and urge those who opposed this measure to take a second look.

States on the tour include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit www.NoMoreNames.org.

Evidence demonstrates that background checks help save lives. In states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:

  • Gun trafficking was 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.[1]
  • The rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower than in other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical.[2]
  • The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.[3]
  • Thirty-nine percent fewer law enforcement officers were shot to death with handguns.[4]

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 950 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.  The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.  Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org

[1] Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, and Maria Bulzacchelli, "Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking," Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.

[2] U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2010.

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].

[4] Federal Bureau of Investigation. LEOKA Database, 2001-2011 (Accessed Mar. 2013).


Alex Katz: akatz@maig.org or 212-788-7617
John Duckwitz: duckwitz@homefrontdc.com or 540-878-1136
Lizzie Ulmer: lulmer@maig.org or 269-271-2331


SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns