Earlier this month, the NRA held its annual meeting in Charlotte. As communities across North Carolina continue to face the fear and loss surrounding gun violence, NRA leadership only grows more extreme. This weekend, the Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer published an op-ed by Shannon Klug, a gun owning volunteer with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action and a member of the Everytown Veterans Advisory Council. In the piece, Klug shares her views on gun ownership and gun violence in North Carolina, highlighting the growing distance between gun lobby leadership and responsible gun owners.
From the piece:
When I was deployed, from Iraq to Bosnia, I took the utmost care to handle my weapon responsibly in order to keep myself and the people around me safe. My gun became like an appendage to me, never out of sight or mind. As a civilian, I take gun ownership just as seriously, and I always store my gun securely — unloaded, locked and separate from ammunition — when out of use.
This is one of the reasons why I was so troubled by the NRA’s annual meeting Oct. 1-2 in Charlotte. The National Rifle Association leadership doesn’t appear to be interested in responsible gun ownership, public safety, or anything other than the bottom line. Instead, they fly around the world in private jets, spend obscene sums on lawyers, and foment extremism — all while trying to roll back common-sense laws like our requirement that North Carolinians go through a background check before buying a handgun.
Because North Carolinians of every stripe continue to be deeply scarred by gun violence, we need stronger gun safety laws, not weaker ones. Many of us are glad that Gov. Roy Cooper stood up for public safety and vetoed the dangerous background check repeal bill. But we are still far from where we need to be in North Carolina. In an average year, 1,388 North Carolinians are killed by guns — an incomprehensible and devastating loss that our community never seems to get a chance to heal from.
Across the country, we have collectively shouldered the staggering weight of gun violence, and we can’t put up with it any longer. It doesn’t have to be this way, and the change can start with gun owners.
Responsible gun ownership means exercising common sense. It means taking the steps to ensure that your gun won’t be used to carry out senseless acts of violence. Keeping our families safe begins with us, and we can exercise our freedoms while still doing our part to make North Carolina a safe place to live.
Read the full op-ed here.