Senate Race in Tar Heel State Results in Gun Debate

   10.13.16

The state motto of North Carolina is “Esse Quam Videri” or “to be rather than to seem.” This is an appropriate phrase concerning the current race between Senator Richard Burr and challenger Deborah Ross. Though one outcome may seem likely, the race between the two is relatively close, with what is yet to be still fairly uncertain.

Currently serving his second term in the U.S. Senate, Republican Richard Burr has many times stood in support of the Second Amendment. He recently took part in a vote against the expansion of background checks proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, giving the U.S. Justice Department more say in prohibiting gun sales based on suspected terrorism. Also voted against by Senator Burr was an attempt by Sen. Chris Murphy to eradicate the so-called “gun show loophole,” which would greatly impact gun sales as a whole, mandating purchases regardless of sales venue.

Another action Sen. Burr has taken in the name of preserving firearms freedoms is blocking Supreme Court nominees with an anti-gun agenda. At the same time, he has stood firm on issues such as concealed carry reciprocity for those with permits, and legislation to insulate rights of veterans protected by the Second Amendment. Burr has also backed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), thereby safeguarding firearms dealers and manufacturers against liability for acts committed with the products they manufacture and sell. He has also voted against bans on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines.

In an interview with Debra Morgan, Sen. Burr had the following to say about Second Amendment rights: “I’m committed to make sure that the Second Amendment is not infringed on in any way, shape or form. And I don’t buy the President’s argument that an assault weapon was made to hunt. No, an assault weapon was made to allow an American to defend themselves and their property – the exact reason the Second Amendment was created by our founding fathers. They didn’t create the amendment for us to have the ability to hunt. And anything we would do to limit the American people to have that right protected would be an infringement to the Second Amendment.”

On the other side of the argument is Democratic challenger and former state legislator Deborah Ross. Although Ross considers herself a supporter of the Second Amendment, her actions indicate that this statement is not without a margin note. Not only has the NRA noticed this and given her an “F” rating, but they have also released ads against her, stating that she voted for gun control and against self-defense. One such example of her stance is her opposition to concealed carry in restaurants and state parks.

High on the list of changes she wishes to see are gun control measures such as expanded background checks. Ross argues this could be a way to prohibit gun crime in the future, indicating that now is the time to act in order to make this a reality. She also advocates utilizing our military and intelligence as a means to bring about improved national security, which happens to coincide with gun control.

On her website, Ross stated that: “Commonsense gun safety laws in our country already prohibit violent criminals from purchasing a firearm; however, a loophole in existing law does not stop a suspected terrorist or an individual on the no-fly list from buying a gun. Unfortunately, thousands of these purchases have gone through, and al Qaeda leaders have actively encouraged extremists to exploit this weakness to buy a firearm. If someone is too dangerous to get on a plane, they’re too dangerous to buy a deadly firearm. Period.”

There is much at stake in this senate race, as the election nears and Ross and Burr continue to campaign. For those who have yet to make up their mind, or are curious about the topic of gun rights, tune into an hour-long debate between the North Carolina candidates on October 13th and see for yourself who suits you best.

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