North Carolinians Support Laws That Could Have Prevented Arizona Shooting

Recent poll shows support for background checks and handgun permits

North Carolinians across the board, including self-identified conservatives and gun owners, overwhelmingly support North Carolina's system of requiring permits to buy guns, and having background investigations conducted by sheriffs.

In a poll of 520 registered voters conducted December 17-19 by Public Policy Polling, 67 percent said they agreed with current state law requiring county permits for handguns, and 90 percent supported background checks on all guns sold by authorized dealers.  Support for the law holds in every demographic, in rural as well as urban areas.

Strong support for North Carolina law comes from gun owners.  Forty-six percent of the respondents said they owned a gun, and 87 percent of gun owners supported background checks.  Fifty-seven percent of gun owners supported requirements for county permits.  Self-identified conservatives were even stronger in endorsement, at 59 percent.

The attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona highlights the need for laws that keep guns out of the wrong hands.  Arizona has some of the loosest gun laws in the nation. 

“The handgun permit is one of North Carolina’s best defenses against these types of shootings,” says Roxane Kolar, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence. “It ensures law enforcement agencies have the tools and resources they need to keep guns out of the hands of someone who is a danger to themselves or others.”

Arizona is one of only three states that allow residents to carry loaded, hidden guns without background checks. Additionally, Arizona allows for no law enforcement discretion in issuing permits.  In North Carolina, local law enforcement officials are able to use all information at their disposal to determine whether someone is a risk before granting them a handgun permit.  Had the Arizona shooter applied for a gun in North Carolina, his drug abuse and mental health history could have prevented him from purchasing the gun he used to wound or kill almost 20 people.

Put briefly, North Carolinians recognize that their state's gun laws can save lives and they support keeping these laws in place.

The full poll can be found here.

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