Source: Carolina Public Press
North Carolina has seen an increase in gun violence, with firearms becoming the leading cause of death for children. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 1,839 deaths occurred in North Carolina due to firearms in 2021; marking the state for the 19th highest rate in the country.
On average, roughly five North Carolinians die per day from gun violence, according to the data.
The study points to the worsening of an already alarming trend that has marred numerous communities across the state, including Chapel Hill and Lumberton.
Following the shooting that left a faculty member dead at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students, advocates, and community members have called for gun safety and violence prevention policies.
Governor Roy Cooper and state Democrats have advocated for gun safety measures; with state Democrats filing gun safety bills in the latest legislative session, and in years past.
While Republicans refuse to budge on gun safety, earlier this year, Governor Roy Cooper created a new office — “The Office of Violence Prevention” — to address the alarming increase in gun-related deaths and injuries.
“All of us deserve to feel safe in our homes, our schools, and our communities,” Governor Cooper stated in a press release. “This new office will help coordinate the efforts to reduce violent crime, tackle both intentional and careless gun injuries and deaths, and work to keep people safe.”
Despite North Carolinians supporting gun safety policies, state Republicans have relaxed gun safety laws, with the Republican-led General Assembly voting to repeal a dangerous pistol permit less than 48 hours after the deadly mass shooting at a Nashville elementary school.
“As our communities continue grieving from intense loss, our lawmakers continue to drag their feet,” stated Samuel Scarborough, a Chapel Hill student, at a rally last month. “Until they do what it takes to save lives, they can save those thoughts and prayers. Keep ’em.”