By now you probably know about the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down in Florida by a man who said he was defending himself from a 17 year old boy armed with Skittles and an iced tea. Part of the reason this man, George Zimmerman, has not yet been arrested is because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. This law gives the benefit of the doubt to those who use deadly force when they feel threatened. Under the Stand Your Ground law, an individual does not have the responsibility to retreat, even when they may do so safely.
What you may not know is that the Florida law is just one of 21 similar laws passed around the country in recent years. One of those 21 laws was passed in North Carolina last year—the Castle Doctrine Law (House Bill 650). Castle Doctrine implies that this legislation applies only to a home or residence. However, HB 650 extends past the individual’s home to their workplace or vehicle. Making them immune to civil or criminal prosecution if they claim they felt threatened or in danger.
Since the Stand Your Ground law went into effect in Florida, the number of justifiable homicides has tripled. And a young life was tragically cut short because of a claim of self-defense. It’s time for Florida, North Carolina, and states across this country to take a hard look at these Stand Your Ground Laws. Changes need to be made before another tragedy occurs.
Everyone deserves the right to live in safe communities, free from gun violence. For the past few months, many of you have worked with us to keep loaded guns out of places where children play. Now, we ask for your help again.
Just like the majority of North Carolina families, NCGV believes in sensible gun laws. In fact, a recent poll found that found 72% of North Carolinians disagree with permitting people to carry handguns in restaurants and bars.Read more
Last night the Blowing Rock Town Council by a 3 to 2 vote passed an ordinance prohibiting loaded, concealed guns on town playgrounds and athletic fields.
This month, a new state law allows local governments to permit handguns in parks and playgrounds. It's part of sweeping legislation passed this summer that makes it easier for people to obtain weapons and to carry them in more public places.
But town councils and county commissioners across the state are opting out of a section of the law that allows guns in recreational areas, such as swimming pools and athletic fields.
With this vote, Blowing Rock joins the more than 20 local governments that have decided that guns and playgrounds don't mix.
To join the statewide campaign visit: http://bit.ly/safe-playgrounds
January 8 is the one-year anniversary of the Tucson Massacre, which claimed the lives of six Americans and wounded 13 others. On this somber day, we will remember all of those who have been hurt by and lost to gun violence.
In cities across the country, we will gather. In Raleigh we will light a candle for those we've lost and pledge to build peaceful communities. Every light could let one more child see another birthday, a graduation, a wedding and the birth of new children in turn. Every light could be a life.
RSVP here: http://www.safernc.org/too_many_victims
Interview with WRAL on repercussions of House Bill 650 and NCGV's campaign to keep guns off city playgrounds and athletic fields.
Durham Herald Letter to the Editor by Board Member Sandy Ogburn
Smoking banned in parks where guns are welcome?
Durham city and county leaders, urged by the Health Department, are contemplating expansion of the ban on smoking in public areas. This is being done for public safety since all of us are at increased risk of the deleterious health effects from second hand smoke. This is good.
On Dec. 1, provisions of NC House Bill 650 become effective. This new state law prohibits local governments from banning the carrying of permitted concealed handguns onto local government property — including parks and recreation areas. This does not make me feel safe. I wonder how many families taking children to our playgrounds or going to sporting events at our playing fields know about this new law. How are families supposed to enjoy the otherwise healthy activities that take place at recreational facilities if they must worry that the person next to them might be carrying a loaded weapon?
NCGV will hold a Fall Reception the evening of Thursday, November 17 at the Busy Bee Café in Raleigh, NC.
This event will be held to help prevent adolescent suicide in North Carolina. All proceeds will support our recently launched Minutes Matter program.
Through our Minutes Matter program NCGV is able to distribute gun safety locks and information to families across the state. The majority of adolescent suicide attempts involve a firearm, through this program we have the potential to save our state's youth.
For more information on this program, please visit http://www.everyminutematters.org
Under the recently passed House Bill 650 loaded, hidden guns are now allowed in more public places. However, cities and counties have the right to prohibit guns in recreational facilities.
The Winston-Salem City Council is considering an ordinance that will keep guns out of city recreational facilities, including greenways, athletic fields, and playgrounds.
As Mayor Joines stated, “We’re trying to do the best we can to protect the kids. In my opinion there’s no room for a gun on a playground.”
Someone should put up huge billboards across the state with the image of doe-eyed little Katterine Palma. The signs should serve as in-your-face reminders of what can be lost when adults are careless with firearms. Sweet-faced, 4-year-old Katterine is dead, killed by another child who found a loaded gun an adult left unlocked in a bedroom.
That adult, Erin Melendez, 37, was charged Saturday with storing a gun in a manner accessible to a minor. Katterine was reportedly the 4-year-old niece of Mirna Palma. Melendez lived with Mirna Palma at the apartment where the shooting took place.
Palma's 3-year-old son and 11-year-old nephew - Katterine's brother - were in the bedroom at the time of the shooting. Police said the shooting was accidental. They haven't said who pulled the trigger.
Neither child should have to bear the weight of the responsibility for such an incident. To kids that young, guns are curiosities and often viewed as playthings. To a three-year-old especially, it would be hard to fathom that it could end a life.
But adults do understand. That's why they have enormous responsibility to keep lethal weapons out of the reach of children. When adults fail, tragic things can and do happen. Katterine, lying in a pool of blood, is the sad proof.
Here are some facts you should know about firearms in this state and nation: