Politics & Government

Group running TV ads against gun bill

A gun control group is starting a TV campaign Sunday to pressure N.C. lawmakers into defeating a bill that critics say would allow gun buyers to avoid background checks.

House Bill 562 is scheduled for a vote in the state House of Representatives on Monday night despite the opposition of Gov. Pat McCrory and the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association.

Americans for Responsible Solutions is airing a new 30-second ad on broadcast and cable in what sponsors call a six-figure buy. The group was started by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman shot at a 2011 rally in Tucson.

The ad features former Sheriff Wayne Gay of Wilson County. In 2012, Gay was featured in a campaign ad for McCrory.

“As a sheriff for 28 years, I fought to keep our communities safe,” Gay says in the new ad. “But right now, some in the legislature want to repeal background checks on handguns. This will make it easier for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns. ... Tell the folks in Raleigh we need to keep background checks.”

The bill would phase out the system requiring handgun buyers to get permits from their local sheriff. Now handgun buyers must get a permit from the sheriff, who does a background check. The bill would end that program by 2021 and grant exceptions in the meantime.

Supporters say most handgun buyers would be subject to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. They say the federal system would offer a more standardized, less arbitrary system.

Republican Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer of Charlotte has said the bill “in no way attempts to remove background checks.

“On the contrary,” she said, “it’s designed to strengthen background checks.”

Morrill: 704-358-5059