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Raleigh News & Observer/Charlotte Observer Editorial Board: “Trump’s appeal to fear is a desperate fiction”

September 3, 2020

The Raleigh News & Observer and Charlotte Observer Editorial Board called out President Donald Trump’s appeals to fear today, elevating the danger that the president is putting North Carolinians in by causing a spike in gun sales and reasserting broad support – both statewide and across the country – for common-sense gun safety laws:

“Firearm sales surged when the pandemic forced a shutdown in March. Now sales are rising again as President Trump warns of U.S. cities being overrun by looting mobs while police are left helpless to respond for lack of funding and respect.

“Trump’s appeal to fear is a desperate fiction peddled by a trailing candidate who wants to shift the subject from his abject failure to respond to the pandemic. But it’s having an effect that’s as real as a bullet.

“This is another bad turn in a terrible year. More guns won’t make people safer. It will put them at greater risk of an accidental shooting, a child finding a gun, a suicide or a family fight ending in gunfire. And the risk is especially great for new gun owners unfamiliar with how to handle or store a gun.

“Trump should be discouraging people from putting themselves and their loved ones at risk. Instead, he’s defending a 17-year-old with an military-style rifle who went to Kenosha, Wis., to defend property against vandalism by protesters. He ended up shooting three people, killing two. He faces multiple homicide charges.

In the editorial, Shannon Klug, a volunteer with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action, discussed the need for responsible gun ownership.

“Shannon Klug is a Charlotte volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a gun-control group, but she is also a retired Air Force colonel and a gun owner. She wishes more civilians would treat firearms as seriously as the military does.

“It’s not a far jump to understand why people feel the need to protect themselves” with a gun, she said. ”But you really have to know what you’re doing with it.”

“Instead she sees recklessness. Referring to the Kenosha shooter, she said, “He was underage. I don’t think a child should have access to an assault weapon.” She added, “Open carry in a protest situation is dangerous.”

“Most Americans and North Carolinians would agree. And they would support other modest new controls on guns.

“Americans shouldn’t be afraid of Trump’s bogeymen. They should be afraid of so many guns. Outbreaks of vandalism amid city protests is a far less serious threat than the daily toll of gunfire and the terrible scourge of mass shootings.

“The best response to the state of Trump’s America – a land disrupted by his bungling response to the pandemic and divided by his exploitation of racial and political differences – isn’t to go to a gun store. It’s to go to the polls and convert retreat into advance.”

In June, Everytown launched Gun Sense Majority: North Carolina – a $5 million financial and grassroots effort dedicated to ensure Vice President Biden wins North Carolina, to defeat Senator Thom Tillis and elect Cal Cunningham in one of the country’s marquee U.S. Senate races, to re-elect Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein, to defeat gun extremist Mark Robinson and elect Yvonne Lewis Holley as Lt. Governor, and to elect gun sense majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, which has ignored North Carolina’s gun violence crisis for years.   

Read the full editorial here.

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