Becky Ceartas's activity stream

  • published 2019 Legislative Victories 2019-11-08 12:36:08 -0500

    2019 Legislative Victories

    As the 2019 General Assembly draws to a close, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence has important legislative victories to share and celebrate. All of these were made possible by your contributions and actions.

    HB 508, the Firearms Safe Storage Awareness Initiative, called for an initiative to educate the public about safe firearm storage, and to facilitate the distribution of gun locks. This initiative is so important because over 40% of North Carolina residents own a firearm, yet only about half of these gun owners and less than half of gun-owning parents keep them secured.

    NCGV was a part of the 2017 Child Fatality Task Force’s Firearm Safety Stakeholder group that developed this proposal.

    NCGV supporters called and emailed to support HB 508 and our lobbyists helped get the initiative included into the budget bill. In the end, the budget was vetoed by Governor and this measure was not included in the “mini budgets”. But getting it in the broad budget bill was a big step forward. With your support we will again fight for its inclusion in next year’s budget or as a stand-alone bill.

    HB 499, Omnibus Gun Changes, was a dangerous bill that would have significantly weakened our gun laws. Most notably, it would have: 

    • Repealed portions of NC’s concealed carry permitting system which would essentially allow 18 year olds with no training and no background check to carry a concealed gun.
    • Permitted approved school employees to carry a concealed gun in K-12 schools while performing their duties.
    • Allowed legislators and staff to carry weapons at the General Assembly.

    Again, NCGV was present every day at the General Assembly talking with key lawmakers about the dangers of this bill while our supporters across the state called and emailed legislators to express their opposition. These contacts worked! HB 499 was never brought up for a vote.

    Rep. Pitman tried to offer an amendment to arm educators in K-12 schools to the School Safety Omnibus bill, SB 5. NCGV worked with legislative leaders to ensure that the amendment did not come up for a vote. We were successful!

    The School Security Act of 2019, SB 192, also would have allowed for K-12 educators to be armed and given them a 5% salary supplement! We conducted an educational campaign in key districts to talk about the dangers of this bill, educated our supporters on the bill prior to their meetings with key legislators, and spoke to influential legislators about stopping this bill. This bill also was never brought up for a vote!

    NCGV took strategic steps on each damaging bill to create a successful plan to stop each one. We are excited to have made it through the legislative session without passage of any harmful bills.

    Thanks to the many supporters who called, emailed, and met with legislators this session! We are grateful for your partnership, and proud of our work together to help keep our state a safer place for all of us.

    This was all made possible by your support. We hope that you will continue to support us to sustain our victories in 2020 because any of these bills can be acted on next year.




  • published Extreme Risk Protection Orders in NC Legislation 2019-09-23 11:42:50 -0400

    Extreme Risk Protection Orders



    Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) laws are bi-partisan policy proposals which can be instrumental in preventing people who are a threat to themselves or others from possessing firearms. For North Carolina, this law could be highly effective in addressing situations of hate-related gun crimes, mass shootings, or suicides, potentially saving hundreds of lives.


    • Seventeen states plus Washington, DC have enacted ERPO laws: Connecticut, Indiana, California, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, Colorado, Nevada, and Hawaii.[1]
    • Generally, a judge may only issue an order for removal of someone’s weapons after a full hearing in which testimony and other evidence is presented to determine if the individual presents a credible threat of harm to themselves or others.
    • Where the threat of harm is immediate, a judge may issue an order on an ex parte basis. “Ex parte” means the order for removal of weapons may be issued without prior notice to the individual.
    • If the order is issued ex parte, a full evidentiary hearing is required within a short period of time (usually less than three weeks after the ex parte order is issued) to determine if the behavior demonstrates a credible threat.
    • If, after a full evidentiary hearing, the threat is ruled NOT credible, no order is issued and the weapons remain in the individual’s possession. If an order was previously issued ex parte, the person’s weapons are returned.
    • If, after a full evidentiary hearing, the threat IS found to be credible, an order will be issued for removal of the weapons – often up to a year. If an order was previously issued ex parte, the person’s weapons will not be returned for the duration of the order - typically up to one year.
    • There are often harsh consequences - including court costs, attorney fees, and even criminal punishment - for anyone that misuses or abuses the ERPO process simply to harass or annoy an individual.


    • The shooters in Parkland, Florida; and Isla Vista, California[2] had behaviors that would have set the ERPO process in motion if these laws were in place at that time.
    • A study revealed that 51% of mass shooters showed signs of distress which would have been actionable if ERPO laws were in place.[3] This legislation can prevent mass shooters from possessing weapons.
    • ERPO laws have proven effective at reducing suicides, which account for nearly two-thirds of gun deaths in NC.[4] For every 10-20 ERPO orders in Connecticut, one suicide has been prevented.[5]
    • After passing ERPOs, Indiana’s suicide rate dropped by 7.5%.[6]
    • Maryland’s 2019 ERPO law has been invoked in at least four cases involving “significant threats” against schools, according to the leaders of the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association. In just one year, the law potentially thwarted several acts of mass gun violence.[7]






    [1]   Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. The Extreme Risk Protection Act of 2019. July 2019.

    [2] Giffords Law Center. Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

    [3] Everytown for Gun Safety. Mass shootings in the United States: 2009-2017. December 2018.

    [4] North Carolina Injury Prevention Branch. Suicide in North Carolina, 2016. October 2018.

    [5] Swanson, J. W., Norko, M. A., Lin, H. J., Alanis-Hirsch, K., Frisman, L. K., Baranoski, M. V., et al. (2017). Implementation and effectiveness of Connecticut’s risk-based gun removal law: Does it prevent suicides? Law and Contemporary Problems. 80(2), 101-128.

    [6]  Kivisto, A. J., Phalen, P. L. (2018). Effects of Risk-Based Firearm Seizure Laws in Connecticut and Indiana on Suicide Rates, 1981–2015. Psychiatric Services. 69(8), 855-862.

    [7] Broadwater L. Sheriff: Maryland's 'red flag' law prompted gun seizures after four 'significant threats' against schools. The Baltimore Sun. January 15, 2019.

  • published 1.31.19 intern blog in Blogs 2019-03-04 04:57:47 -0500

    1.31.19 intern blog

    Duke University Hosts Panel on Reducing Gun Violence

    January 31, 2018

        Duke University students, faculty, and staff, along with residents of the Durham community, gathered on campus Tuesday evening for a student-organized panel on reducing gun violence. Co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice-Provost, panelists included professors from numerous schools within the University, including Professor Phillip Cook from the Sanford School of Public Policy, Professors Darrell Miller and Joseph Blocher from the Law School, and Professor Jeffrey Swanson from the School of Medicine.

        David Prisch, a junior majoring in Political Science, put the panel together after the tragic Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburg, which occurred in October of this past year. Prisch stated that “even if we can’t eliminate hatred and violence, we can do more to curtail their power to destroy”. The event was moderated by Carlee Goldberg, a student from Parkland, Florida who has experienced the devastating consequences of gun violence first-hand. The panel brought together experts from various fields to discuss opportunities to progress in tackling this multifaceted problem.


    Outlined below is a brief summary of the panelists’ responses to the moderator questions.


    Q: How do we make gun ownership safer in America?

        Professor Swanson emphasized the necessity for the implementation of consistent gun ownership laws across the fifty states, however sweeping laws are much more difficult to implement after DC v. Heller (2008). He noted that the current ownership criteria is flawed in that it does not correlate with potential risk. Professor Blocher added that “people too often think you have to make a choice between gun rights and regulations, but that’s not true as a matter of history or a matter of doctrine”.


    Q: What are the interesting trends in gun regulation?

        Professor Cook explained that “the tectonic shift in gun politics happened in 2018 with the Parkland large extent due to the student leadership coming out of that school”. The raising of these voices led to the recognition that kids across America are riddled with the fear of gun violence each day. Professor Swanson added that the root of this fear is so irrational that we must demand a solution to it. However, Swanson noted that a small percentage of gun deaths derive from such mass shootings, and solutions to one kind of gun violence are not necessarily solutions for another. For example, Red Flag Laws were enacted as a result of this post-Parkland public outcry, but research on the effectiveness of such laws shows that they have a greater impact on reducing suicide than preventing gun-based homicide.


    Q: What do you think that students, or the general population, can do to address the problem of gun violence?

    Professor Cook emphasized that opportunities to get involved politically have greatly increased in recent years, and if you prefer to stay more distant from direct politics, you can still make an impact by volunteering for local groups in the Durham area. Individual ability to influence policy is greater on the local level than the federal level - start small and move big. Professor Blocher added the current momentum is the greatest he’s seen in all of the years he’s been working on this issue. And finally, Professor Swanson made his greatest piece of advice clear: “Vote”.



    Written by Brina Melton, Duke University student intern for NCGV

  • signed Ban Military-Style Assault Weapons 2017-10-11 04:49:57 -0400

    Ban Military-Style Assault Weapons


    As you likely know by now, the Florida high school shooter, the Las Vegas shooter, the Orlando shooter, the Sandy Hook shooter and many others, used military-style assault weapon. These weapons are designed to kill as many people as possible as efficiently as possible. They should not be available to civilians.

    It is well past time for the Congress the United States to act.

    Please tell our Senators to ban military-style assault weapons now. Add your name to the petition today.


    702 signatures



    Dear Senators Burr and Tillis:

    Yet again the nation faces a tragic massacre helped along by easy and inappropriate access to military-style assault weapons. This time it is 17 dead at a Parkland, Florida high school. Before that it was 58 victims in Las Vegas, 26 killed in Sutherland Springs.

    Military-style semi-automatic assault weapons are designed to efficiently kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time available. There is absolutely no reason for assault rifles, assault pistols, and assault shotguns to be sold on the civilian market.

    Congress did not act after Aurora, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas, Southerland Springs and many other devastating mass shootings. It’s high time Congress stopped sacrificing lives and work to address this crisis before even more lives are lost.

    We ask that you act now to prevent more carnage by supporting an effective ban on the civilian use of these weapons. Military-style assault weapons, high capacity magazines and bump stocks do not belong in our homes, our streets, our schools, our malls, our movie theaters, our places of worship, or in any of our other gathering places. It is well past time to act but it’s not too late to spare more Americans from death at the hands of killers using these weapons of mass destruction.

    Thank you.


    Add signature

  • published No to the Deregulation of Silencers 2017-09-11 05:19:37 -0400

    No to the Deregulation of Silencers

    Please sign our petition urging Congress to REJECT any legislation deregulating the sale of firearm silencers and make them easily accessible to criminals who want to conceal their crimes.



    203 signatures

    As a North Carolinian, I urge you to please vote against the SHARE Act.

    Silencers are already easy to buy if you’re a responsible person with a clean criminal record. If silencers are deregulated, there will be nothing to stop criminals from adding silencers to their growing arsenal: a public safety threat that we have successfully countered for the past 80 years.

    This bill puts the profits of gun manufacturers ahead of public safety. We know that during active and mass shooting situations, hearing and seeing gunshots can mean the difference between life and death. Protecting communities and law enforcement is more important than gun company profits. So, please vote against the SHARE Act.


    Add signature

  • signed Minutes Matter 2016-05-15 06:56:39 -0400

    Minutes Matter

    Take the Pledge!

    5 pledges

    I pledge to think and speak of suicide as something that can be prevented.  Lives can be saved.


    I pledge to keep any firearms in my house safely locked.


    I pledge to break the silence and speak with my friends and family about suicide awareness and prevention, letting them know that "minutes matter" for everyone.



    Add pledge

  • signed up on Action Alert Sign-Up 2019-09-30 04:50:46 -0400

    Action Alert Sign-Up

    Sign-up here for action alerts, current events, and other ways to support the work of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence. Together we can end gun violence and make North Carolina safe for everyone!


    NCGV keeps all user information confidential.

    Sign up

  • published Who We Are in About 2015-02-04 14:28:15 -0500

    Who We Are

    North Carolinians Against Gun Violence is made up of supporters across the state. NCGV board members are selected by our Board of Directors and elected by our general membership. 


    2018 Board of Directors 

    Don Arabian is a retired senior executive from the Federal government who is a local community organizer and strong advocate of gun violence prevention programs in South East North Carolina.

    David Beck, born and raised in Winston-Salem, is the Director of Public Policy and Media Relations at Self-Help Credit Union in Durham since 1998. 

    Beth Berngartt is currently retired after a career as a paralegal followed by over 20 years working in the non-profit management field in Raleigh.  She has been an active advocate against gun violence since moving to North Carolina from Georgia in 1989.

    Kris Evans holds an MBA and while she has spent the last decade out of the workforce to raise her kids, she has been an active volunteer with a number of non profits in the Charlotte area.

    Wesley McMahon has ten years of experience working with non-profit organizations. He is currently a full time father of two young children and an active advocate against gun violence.  He is the president of the board of directors.

    Zoe Nichols is a high school senior. She’s survived a code red drill, knows how to fire a gun, and believes that gun safety and personal freedom go hand in hand

    Aleta Payne is Executive Director of the Johnson Service Corps; she is a native Virginian but has been a resident of North Carolina for almost two decades.

    Renuka Soll has volunteered in her community while raising her children. She has been residing in North Carolina for about 15 years.

    Jeremy Sugg is a husband, father and attorney in Charlotte who advocates for responsible gun ownership, and common-sense gun regulations.



    Staff and Consultants

    Rebecca Ceartas, Executive Director, has been leading NCGV since 2014 and has 19 years of experience with non profits.

    Sara Smith, Statewide Community Organizer, has a background in public health and organizing, and brings 19 years of experience with non-profits and universities to NCGV.

    Tracy Kondracki, Finance Administrator Consultant, founder of the Green Bean Counters, providing business services to non-profits and other environmentally & socially mindful small businesses since 2005.

    New Frame, Lobbyists




  • commented on Unload Your 401k 2014-09-26 11:07:06 -0400
    Thanks for your comment Elizabeth. Would you be interested in volunteering with us in a different way – ?

  • wants to volunteer 2016-01-03 05:35:37 -0500

    Volunteer Survey

    Below are ways that you can get involved with North Carolinians Against Gun Violence. After you fill out the form, we will be in touch with you to talk about your interests. Thank you very much for volunteering to keep North Carolinians safe from gun violence.


    NCGV keeps user information confidential

    Become a volunteer

  • followed ASK - Asking Saves Kids 2014-05-17 09:43:40 -0400

    ASK: Asking Saves Kids


    I ask because:

    • Every 3 hours a child or teen is killed in a firearm related incident
    • For every child that is killed by a firearm 4 more are injured

    • Firearm injuries in the U.S. are the 2nd leading cause of deaths in youths ages 15-24

    • More children in the U.S. die from gunfire that from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, and HIV/AIDS combined

    • Most 3 year olds can pull the trigger of a gun

    • Not asking is too high a risk


    Asking is simple. “My child is so curious these days. I need to ask, is there an unlocked gun in your house?"


  • signed Ask Before You Eat - Pledge 2013-09-05 19:00:29 -0400

    Ask Before You Eat - Pledge

    Beginning October 1, 2013 North Carolina bars and restaurants, even those that serve alcohol, must allow permit holders to carry their concealed handguns on the premises UNLESS the owner posts a “conspicuous notice” prohibiting them.

    North Carolinians against Gun Violence (NCGV) has laminated signs available for owners of restaurants or bars who do not wish to allow weapons in their establishments. NCGV is also growing a list of the places posting against weapons. This list is available on our website so people know where to take their families that will still allow us to eat in peace.

    We would love to add your establishment to that list.

    Use the form below to pledge to post against weapons in your business. You will receive an information packet, including a laminated sign.

    Please note: by signing below you will be included on our list of restaurants.

    As a local bar or restaurant owner I care about the safety of my staff and customers.  No one in my establishment should need to worry about the threat of loaded, concealed weapons.

    I will be posting against weapons at my business.

    Add Pledge

  • signed Today is the Day via 2013-04-02 10:00:09 -0400

    Today is the Day

    We share our prayers and thoughts with Newtown, Connecticut following the tragic events that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. The unbelievable massacre which claimed the lives of 20 young students and six adults.

    We must offer more than prayers and sorrow. Have we reached a point where our children cannot attend school without fear of being gunned down by a homicidal maniac who has obtained easy access to firearms?  As mothers and fathers this simply cannot be acceptable; cannot be our way of life.

    Today, American families must demand immediate action by our elected leaders to reform our gun laws. If elected officials cannot find their voices now and call for change—if NRA campaign contributions and threats continue to dictate their decision-making, taking priority over the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—what will it say about them? 

    Moreover, if we allow them to remain silent, what will it say about us?



    122 pledges
    Sign below to pledge your support to work with NCGV to hold our elected officials accountable. Common sense gun laws can and do save lives.  
    We need our political leaders to be strong and do the right thing, no matter the opposition.
    We need you to build a safer North Carolina and America.
    Add Pledge

  • donated 2019-12-05 12:39:19 -0500


    The North Caorlinians Against Gun Violence Education Fund works daily to prevent death and injury due to needless gun violence and preventable accidents. We are the only state based organization dedicated to passing sensible gun violence prevention measures and fighting back against those who attempt to strip our state of safe and sensible gun legislation. Our work makes a difference because of passionate people like you. NCGV is a supporter run organization. Your support ensures that NCGV continues to work for the safety of North Carolina citizens.

    Donations to NCGV are 100% tax-deductible. To make a donation via mail: PO Box 51565 Durham, NC 27717.

    You can join the Lisa Price Gun Violence Prevention Circle by contributing the following amount over a year.

    • Sustainer: $2500 and above
    • Advocate: $1500-$2499
    • Patron: $1000-$1499
    • Protector: $750-$999
    • Benefactor: $250-$749

    If you want to support the new 501(c)(4) gun violence prevention organization that is making a difference in this election, please donate to the NCGV Action Fund.




  • published Progress We Have Made 2012-06-27 18:20:00 -0400

    Progress We Have Made

    NCGV has been fighting hard to reduce gun violence and keep our streets safe for nearly 20 years.  But right now, we’re seeing the perfect storm of reduced funding and an onslaught of state legislation that threatens the progress NCGV has made.  But there is good news:

    Thank you for standing with NCGV to tell legislators not to pass the Concealed Carry in Bars and Restaurant bill!  This bill looks like it will be a no-go for 2012.   We deserve not to worry about loaded guns in family restaurants. 

    But, NCGV’s primary mission of reducing gun violence and promoting gun safety remains as urgent as ever.  Please help us continue to defend your right to be safe and free from gun violence, and support NCGV today!  Even the smallest contributions can go a long way toward helping us preserve that freedom.

    $17 will provide lifesaving information for 100 families who are concerned about how guns are stored in homes where children play and visit. Asking about guns saves kids!

    $43 will purchase one violence prevention program curriculum for 35 kids. Developed by youth for youth!

    $126 will provide one week of our six week comprehensive violence prevention programming for a youth struggling with their direction in life. One graduate of our program stated, “This program changed the way I see things.” On the verge of failing out of middle school, this participant has gone on to graduate from high school as an honor roll student, attends college classes, and works with youth in his community!

     $254 will sponsor a youth sports team to promote positive activities for youth who would not otherwise participate. One season of sports can teach a lot of cooperation and conflict resolution!

    $499 will train the trainer to teach people who routinely come in contact with adolescents to recognize the warning signs of suicide. More lives are lost to suicide by firearm than all other forms of gun violence combined - and it can be prevented!

    Please donate today!