UNC students, anti-gun violence advocates take gun control message straight to NC Republicans
Tired of their pleas being ignored, members of March For Our Lives UNC, along with other anti-gun violence advocates, rallied outside the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh on Tuesday and then took their message straight to Republicans inside the legislature.
The rally was held just 15 days after an associate professor was shot and killed by a graduate student inside a campus lab. The university was put on lockdown and students huddled together in bathrooms, classrooms and campus businesses for hours as authorities searched for the gunman on the afternoon of Aug. 28.
Students said they are angry and tired of having to live with gun violence as a part of everyday life and that it is past due for something to change. Gen Z is so familiar with school shootings that some even call themselves the “lockdown generation.”
One of the speakers, sophomore Amie Boakye, 18, said the UNC shooting was the third school shooting she had survived.
“While no law or set of laws will end gun violence in totality … it is clear that we need some form of action,” Boakye said. “If we can save even one child’s life then we need to do something.”
Luke Diasio, UNC senior and vice president of the UNC-Chapel Hill March For Our Lives, said he was pushed to take action by “shooting after shooting for decades” and the fact that “we don’t do anything about it.”
Diasio also highlighted the impact that gun violence is having on America’s children.
“In the past two decades, more children have died of gun violence than on-duty police officers and active military combined,” he said. “Why does this keep happening? It is time for legislation!”
Also in attendance was Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor David Hogg. He is a co-founder of the national March For Our Lives organization and is also a favorite target of North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.
Here’s a look at Robinson’s obsession with Hogg as well as his belief that guns have nothing to do with gun violence:
- Accused Hogg of being a “crisis actor.”
- Spent months targeting Hogg and other survivors beginning just days after the 2018 shooting that left 17 dead.
- Has blamed mass shootings in America not on guns, but “karma” from abortions.
- Has blamed school shootings not on guns, but because we have “purged prayer from the hallways of those schools.”
- Has said “school shootings should be no surprise” because public education has become “the domain of the cunning and wicked.”
The students and advocates who spoke said they wanted to see what they called “common sense laws” such as red flag laws and universal background checks. They also said they want to see more Gen Z voters at the polls.
Although some Democratic lawmakers attended the rally, no Republicans did – so the students decided to visit them in the state House chamber.
House Speaker Tim Moore, a UNC graduate himself, proudly introduced the students while speaking on the House floor. Only seconds later, the students serenaded him and his Republican colleagues with chants of “vote them out!” Moore banged the gavel to try to get the students to quiet down, but they refused. The video feed was momentarily cut off as the students were kicked out of the House chambers.
Once the students had been removed, and instead of addressing the fact that Republicans have only loosened gun laws so far this session, Moore decided to make a joke mocking the students.
“This isn’t a pep rally…it’s the House of Representatives,” he said. “I believe they must be Duke students.”
Moore’s response was typical of the NCGOP. They refuse to take any responsibility for their inaction (or their actions that only serve to harm North Carolinians) and instead of actually addressing the concerns of their constituents, they simply mock them for having the gall to want a better, safer, more welcoming state to live in.
Following another campus lockdown at UNC on Wednesday, Moore said on Thursday that he thinks UNC needs to reevaluate its status as a gun-free zone and that if the legislature does take any action on gun laws, it will only be to loosen them further.
“It’s a gun-free zone. And that clearly is not working,” he said. “You’re not going to just snap your fingers and get rid of guns. That’s not reality. Criminals are going to have guns, and the best solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Democrats couldn’t believe Moore would suggest such a thing.
“So more students at frat houses, and that are drinking alcohol and things of that sort, have more gun access?” asked House Minority Leader Rep. Robert Reives. “And that will make campus more safe? That’s his proposal?”
Clearly, Moore didn’t think through his idea before blabbing to the media about it. One Democrat quickly pointed out the fallacy of his argument.
“Absolutely fruitcake logic,” Rep. Marcia Morey, a Durham Democrat, wrote on social media. “Moore’s idea to end gun-free zones on campuses would have made it legal for the guy to have had the gun at UNC [Wednesday].”