Press Release

Gabby Giffords Statement on North Carolina House Vote to Protect Current Handgun Background Checks

June 16 2015 – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), released the below statement marking great news for common sense after leaders in the North Carolina House voted to keep the existing background check requirement on handgun purchases and remove language from proposed legislation that, if enacted, would open up new loopholes in the state’s gun laws. Congresswoman Giffords’ statement:

“This is great news for common sense and for safer communities. Today, leaders in the North Carolina House stood up for responsibility and stood up to the special interests who want to create new loopholes in North Carolina’s laws – loopholes that make it easier for dangerous people to get handguns and that make families less safe. The evidence is clear: states where background checks are required on handgun sales, no matter where they’re bought, are safer places to live. Mark and I are proud of our organization’s work to help make this victory possible and grateful to our supporters in North Carolina who used their voice to tell their legislators to stand up for the existing life-saving background checks. Now, we urge leaders in the North Carolina Senate to follow the House’s lead and protect background checks that help keep handguns out of the wrong hands – not create new loopholes that let people buy handguns with no questions asked.”

Last week, ARS launched a targeted TV and digital advertising campaign urging North Carolinians to contact their legislators and urge them to oppose legislation repealing North Carolina’s background checks laws. On Wednesday, ARS began airing a 30-second TV ad titled “Safe”, urging North Carolinians to contact their legislators and tell them to oppose HB 562. (Watch “Safe” here.)


Along with other changes weakening North Carolina’s gun laws, if enacted as is House Bill 562 would have repealed North Carolina’s current “permit to purchase” system, which requires that any prospective handgun buyer pass a background check. Under HB 562, individuals currently prohibited from purchasing or owning guns – including convicted felons, individuals convicted of domestic abuse, and individuals adjudicated mentally ill – would be able to buy a handgun through an unlicensed seller without a background check.


Recent research shows that states that repeal permit-to-purchase laws and weaken background checks see increases in gun homicides. When Missouri repealed a similar permit-to-purchase background check law in 2007 that required background checks on all handgun sales, gun homicides increased by 23 percent in the state. According to a recent study from Johns Hopkins, that change alone resulted in between 55 and 63 additional homicides per year.


As of 2010, North Carolina’s gun murder rate was 10 percent higher than the national average. From 2001 to 2010, at least 11,000 people in North Carolina were killed by guns. There is also a lethal connection between gun violence and domestic violence in North Carolina. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in five of all homicides in North Carolina in 2011 involved family or intimate partner domestic violence, with half of those murders committed with a gun.