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At Least Four Children Shot in Past Two Weeks in North Carolina; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond

April 23, 2021

Earlier This Week, North Carolina Lawmakers Advanced HB 398, a Bill Which Would Allow Gun Sales Without Background Checks, Ignoring Bills That Would Keep North Carolinians Safe 

The North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after at least four children were shot in separate incidents over the past two weeks.  

“Our hearts are broken for each of these children’s families and the unimaginable pain they’re going through,” said Scarlett Hollingsworth, a volunteer with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “And to our lawmakers, whose efforts to pass HB 398 would make it easy for people with dangerous histories to purchase guns with no background check and no questions asked – we’re begging you, abandon those efforts. If you succeed, more people could die.”

  • Zakylen Harris, 7, was shot and killed in a road-rage incident on Wednesday while riding in a car with his mother and two other children. 
  • Gabrielle Jones, 7, was shot and killed in an unintentional shooting on April 13th. 
  • A 4-year-old girl was shot and wounded while sleeping inside her home on Wednesday; according to Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, “someone inside an unidentified car drove by the house and fired at least eight shots into the home.” 
  • An 8-month-old infant was shot and wounded while at home in her mother’s arms on Tuesday; according to Channel 9, “someone drove by and fired at least 15 shots, and that one of those bullets hit the baby.” 

In an average year, 1,388 people die by guns and 3,407 people are wounded by guns in North Carolina. Firearms are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in North Carolina. Black children and teens in North Carolina are three times more likely than their white peers to die by guns.

Gun violence costs North Carolina $9.6 billion each year, of which $418.0 million is paid by taxpayers. 

HB 398, which advanced through the North Carolina House Judiciary 4 Committee Tuesday, would repeal North Carolina’s background check requirement on unlicensed handgun sales and make it easy for people with felony convictions, domestic abusers, and those prohibited based on mental illness to buy handguns in North Carolina. Since 1998, more than 80,000 firearm sales to prohibited purchasers have been denied in North Carolina. Each year, North Carolina’s background check system blocks nearly 2,000 illegal sales to people convicted of felonies and nearly 500 illegal sales to domestic abusers. Twenty-one states, including North Carolina, and the District of Columbia have laws requiring a person to pass a criminal background check before buying a handgun from an unlicensed seller. State laws requiring background checks for all handgun sales are associated with lower firearm homicide rates, lower firearm suicide rates, and lower rates of firearm trafficking. When Missouri repealed its purchase permit law requiring background checks, the state experienced an up to 27 percent increase in its firearm homicide rate.

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