Source: Editorial Board
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who announced he’s running for governor at a rally on Saturday, will spend at least the next 11 months campaigning and raising money ahead of a March 5, 2024, primary.
A nice chunk of that money will likely come from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other pro-gun funders. The sad reality is that there will be more mass shootings here in North Carolina and across the country while Robinson is taking in campaign cash from groups responsible for the prevalence of guns and gun deaths in our society.
Robinson doesn’t care though. In fact, there seems to be a pattern emerging with the timing of his pro-gun speeches:
- The lieutenant governor spoke at an NRA event – the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum – on April 14, in the wake of two mass shootings, one in Nashville, Tennessee, and the other in Louisville, Kentucky. Those shootings left a combined 11 innocent people dead, including three 9-year-old children, and 10 injured.
- On May 27, 2022, Robinson spoke at the NRA convention in Houston, Texas, three days after 19 children and two adults were slaughtered inside a classroom less than 300 miles away in Uvalde, Texas. Petitions and letters asking Robinson not to attend were signed by thousands of North Carolinians. He celebrated the fact that his constituents back home asked him not to attend the convention. “I am here today, much to the chagrin of many of the leftists back home in my state who thought I should cower and stay home, and not come here and continue to defend that right for those law-abiding citizens back home in North Carolina,” he said. He also accused “leftist politicians” of wanting to “tap dance on the graves of these children to disarm the people of this nation,” according to The News & Observer.
- Just two weeks before the NRA convention, on May 15, 2022, Robinson spoke at a North Carolina church one day after a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket left 10 Black people dead. During his speech at the church, he proudly told the congregation that, “I got them AR-15s in case the government gets too big for its britches,” adding, “I’m gonna fill the backside of them britches with some lead. I’m going to say it to you plain: Your boy ain’t going down without swinging.”
Robinson is a man who does not care about victims of gun violence, or at least doesn’t care that that’s the impression he gives off. Thoughts and prayers are worthless in response to these events.
Following the school shooting in Nashville, Robinson released a statement where, maybe for the first time, he actually came across as reasonable.
“People are calling on us to act,” he wrote. “Kids should be able to feel safe, and parents should not fear dropping their kids off, wondering if it will be the last time they see them.”
No one should take issue with that statement. It’s absolutely correct, but it needs to be backed up by action – and Robinson has repeatedly fought against doing anything to potentially stop these shootings from happening.
According to a 2022 poll, 78% of North Carolina voters said they support red flag laws and 89% of voters support background checks for all gun purchases. Unsurprisingly, Robinson supports neither.
It’s hard to “act” against gun violence and make kids “feel safe” at school when your solution to the problem is to make schools build better security systems, and not address the issues surrounding the easy access to guns and the resulting violence and crime.
Perhaps the biggest reason for Robinson’s refusal to do anything? He doesn’t want to anger his donors. According to WRAL, “The NRA Political Victory Fund spent more than $82,000 on mailers and other efforts to get Robinson elected in 2020, according to state campaign finance records. The group also donated $5,400 directly to Robinson’s campaign.”
In a recent op-ed, The News & Observer’s editorial board asks a question that Robinson and other Republicans need to answer:
“How can we ever truly ensure our kids are safe when [Republicans] insist that any attempt to keep guns out of the wrong hands is an assault on their freedom?”