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Joint | June 2, 2016 | Press Room | Press Conference Harrison

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[BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO] Good afternoon, my name is Becky Ceartas and I'm the executive director of North Carolinian's against gun violence. For over 20 years we've been working with the state [INAUDIBLE] to prevent gun death and injury I'm honored to welcome you to this press event in marking national gun violence awareness day and wear orange day. Events are happening through out the county and through out the state today. Wear orange day and national gun violence awareness day was inspired by a group of Chicago teens who asked their classmates to commemorate The life of their murdered friend Heidi Pendleton by wearing orange. On June 2nd 2015, what would have been HeidI's 18th birthday, a broad based coalition marked the first national wear orange day. And ask people nation wide to honor Heidi [INAUDIBLE] and the Live of more that 90 Americans that are shot and killed every day, and the hundreds of others that are shot and survive by wearing orange. Originating in hunting culture the color orange pays tribute to America's proud heritage of responsible gun ownership. Orange hunting gear saves countless lives every year. And wear orange aims to inspire those who think that we can do more to save lives from gun violence, to get involved in more than any one of more than a hundred non profit partners in the wear orange coalition. Wear orange activities are taking place across North Carolina in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Hendersonville, Raleigh and Wilmington. Skylines of key buildings began turning orange on June 1st, the start of National Gun Violence Awareness month including the Empire State Building. key land marks in North Carolina tuning orange include the NASCAR hall of fame in Charlotte, North Carolina mutual life, The Durham preforming art center, Carolina feeder/g in Durham and raising flag in the town of Chapel hill. By June 2nd as the focal point for raising awareness wear Orange is the campaign dedicated to honoring the lives of those affected by gun violence, and elevating gun violence prevention efforts nationwide, all year long. Today we have with us several speakers, including those who've been personally impacted by gun violence, and those who are working to ensure we have, common sense gun laws that saves lives and promote responsible gun ownership. [SOUND] >> Thanks for that. Hey I'm Pricey Harrison, I represent Guilford County in the North Carolina house. I'm joined by several of my colleagues including Leader Hall, Representative Farmer Butterfield and, Representative Garland Pierce, and Representative Duane Hall and

Representative Bobbie Richardson. >> Excuse me. >> [LAUGH] >> Okay I'm sorry. He's been the champ and I think Representative Charles Jeter and a few others were gonna join us but they're called up on the floor. Today's about calling for an end to gun violence and saving lives. Gun violence ravages too many American families and neighborhoods especially in urban ares and dis proportionally affecting communities of color. Their are 30000 lives lost to gun violence each year. 80% of the firearm doesn't in a world occurs in the United States and accounts to more than $100 billion to our GDP. This seems to become the new normal which is unacceptable and we want to reverse that trend. So after Sandy Huck in the wake of Tusan/g and a war and all those massive gun. We would have thought that the legislature would have moved to increase gun safety and gun violence prevention measures in our state. we'd gone towards moved forward putting guns in what places, including guns in parks and school grounds, in bars and restaurants which is the wrong trend, there are common sense gun solutions and we should be pursuing those here in North Carolina as there are in other states and I appreciate you being here, I'm gonna turn it over to senator [INAUDIBLE] who just joined us from the senate budget and I wanna thank moms rising and all of you for being here today, this issue of going violent to a significant, I'm gonna start an epidemic proportion, you get back the 2015 what we find is that there were 274 days where you had 294 mass shootings And when I say mass shooting we're talking about shooting involving at least the assailant and three other persons so a total of four.Is at academic proportion we know that it's more likely that if guns are in a household whether is here in North Carolina or through out the United States is more likely gonna be used against the member of the family Is more likely that someone gonna come in contact with that firearm perhaps the child who will accidental discharge it.It's far more likely it gonna be used against a friend or a relative rather than unknown person or an assailant .That should give us reason for hesitation,reason for concern but more importantly Reason to understand that the more guns are accessible,the greater the probability that lives will be lost.Lives will be lost and that what is all about,unfortunately we've seen a proliferation of policies here in North Carolina that rather than en-limiting and restricting firearms and access to firearms It's actually increased it. Laws that basically say you can take them to a sporting event. Laws that allow you to take them in a funeral procession. Why would you ever want when people are sitting there going through emotionally turbulent periods in their lives, to be able to take them in a funeral procession. Why would you want to encourage them, on parks and in playgrounds Playgrounds. Why would we want to allow people at public universities to be able to carry these guns under their grounds? But yet that's what we theme. I think popular opinion is contrary to the direction that we are moving here in the state of North Carolina. Popular opinion is the merging in understanding the background Critical but more importantly popular opinion when people are properly educated understand that if there are firearms in the home, you need to have trigger locks. But more importantly, you wanna keep them out of there, that's what it's all about. MomsRising has been a great efficacy group In terms of educating the public. Bringing together divergent groups all around a common issue. A common issue that we can all embrace, a common issue we can support, a common issue that increases the safety of our communities. So I thank you all for being here today. I thank all of those colleagues of mine in the general assembly who have taken the right votes on many of these credical issues. Let's continue to educate those who are part of the public, let's continue to advocate not just when a bill is coming out for a debate, let's make sure that we get good people elected to public public office, people with good common sense, people who understand that while there's a constitutional right to bare arms, that rights cannot be abused and misused, people will understand the peliperation of fire arms is becoming a significant problem, each week when I get my Sunday paper I look through the front areas, I may come along one for Walmart and I'll see shot guns and riffles for sale, along with spoting these stores and I know that you got to go into Walmart the supper center and be 21 to buy here or why, but I know at 18 you can go and get a fire arm, and

I know that people in this day want to make sure that we start to think more constructively about what we can do. We want to get these guns out of the hands in particular for people who are mentally unstable, if as many times they are the ones that are using this mass burger incidences, incidences that we cannot continue to tolerate, incidences that we cannot condone, incidences that we must prevent through good, strong public policy. So once again IO thank my colleagues, I thank all of you that have been so instrumental at the grass roots level and for moms rising in the scale of 1 to 10 you get 100. >> [APPLAUSE]. [BLANK-AUDIO]. >> Good evening, I'm I'm [INAUDIBLE] and before I start I do wanna take time to thank all of the legislators that are here, I mean this place should be intact but we're thankful, so thankful that you took time to come out and celebrate life and to bring awareness to the moms rise and I wanna thank you for carrying on the fight because we gotta have somebody that's doing something. And we thank the media for caring enough about human life, that you would put it in your agenda, and you came out to support us. Because sometimes this is the only education America gets. It's when they see it on the news, this is the only time it gets attention, it's when they see it on the news because if they don't see it, it's not happening according to the American public. But anyway, I'm Effie Steele and I'm here today to remember my daughter, Ebony and my grandson, Elijah who was murdered by someone who should not have had the many guns that he had much less one. I'm also here in memory Of all those whose lives have been taken by gun violence. These days we're mourning with a family almost weekly and recently almost daily. Every time you wake up somebody's been shot. One, two, three deaths in one day because their loved one was murdered and our community has been robbed of the contribution they would have made to our society. But I'm here today speaking to the hearts of America, the hearts of the people in this room not just your head. If we don't do something, nothing will get done and things won't stay the same. It will increase as violence escalates. The bullet shot from the gun of Kenneth Earl White Senior who murdered Ebenin/g Elijah, not only stopped two beating hearts but it wounded our family. It trampled our hopes and our dreams and plans for a better tomorrow, which also included Evan and Elijah. When Evan and Elijah's lives were taken by violence, it changed the composition of our family and rewrote our family history. The grief and the sorrow even caused me to have life threatening health issues which never think about the grief does that to a body. And it changed my day to day living in a drastic way. Our family continues after all these years to heal from the devastation of having Evan and Elijah taken from us in such a violent way. Every family that has a family member taken from us by violence. Experiences how it distorts our peace, our sense of security, and causes us a sense of fear to come over us because we are not sure the same thing won't happen to us. Some people are are never caught, the perpetrator is never caught, so the family is Left to be in fear because they don't know who it was, or whether they're coming for them. I support our being able to defend ourselves, our family and our home. But to what extent are we wiling to go to in order to ensure this right. Like Senator McKissick Said, some things are just common sense. You've got guns you need to lock them up. We don't need guns because the people come in, they take the guns and use against them, whereas before they just had a bat. We need to remember that gun violence affects all of us, either directly or indirectly. We're having more and more [INAUDIBLE] to memorialize a lived one gone too soon due to gun violence. I also want to call attention to the considerable cost. We don't think about that. We don't think about our tax money is involved in murder. Our tax money is involved in defending our people who take other people's lives And then we house them for their lives, some of them. It's a considerable cost of gun violence to us and the negative impact it has on all of us.

We need a national day of gun violence awareness because we are fighting everyday to save lives, all lives Regardless of race, color or creed. We need to be reminded that gun violence has taken away our most valuable asset, human lives. Even when we don't hear about it in the news, we've been robbed. My appeal to you today, my cry to Americans all across the This nation, is that if we not just think about reducing gun violence and saving lives once a year. That we not only have a day of prayer following a mass murder incident. That we not only think about the lives being lost around us when the media brings it to our attention. But that That we continue to work to change the scenario in some way, every day of our lives. A national day of gun violence awareness will help us to remember the lives lost. Remind us to pray without ceasing, and call us to action to continue the fight for human life Life with a safeguard/g lost. And holding people accountable for their actions. I'm here today with the many issues, and serious health problems and the sadness because I want to prevent any other family from experiencing the heartache And the longing I have for my daughter [UNKNOWN] Elijah. Please let's put some action to our words. Find out what you can do. We need to make some changes, we need more than a day. We need a week, we need a month, to just talk about awareness. We we need time to figure this thing out, there are things that we can do to change the [INAUDIBLE] of things that we can do to stop the violence but we got to do it, we got to stop having this worth a month, event are playing once a year, we've got to do some work, if we don;y do it it's not going to get done done I promise you, nobody is gonna do it we have to do it. Next I'm gonna, I'm happy to have with us today reverend Dr. Jenifer [INAUDIBLE] she is executive director of the North Carolina council of churches, in this position she always sees the comprehensive, economical organisation that have advocates, and educates so many timely issues but affect the well being of all [INAUDIBLE], gun safety is one among many currently being addressed by the council and I thank anybody, everybody who is so concerned about human life that you to women to stand up and do something, thank you. [APPLAUSE]. Thank you [INAUDIBLE] we know this is hard, it's always hard when you have to tell that story again and again and we appreciate your willingness to continue selling that story so that everyone will know. >> Last fall we at the North Carolina council of churches invited all the organisations we think of who are working for gun safety to join us for one big conversation and many of them are in this room today, moms demand action, every time USA moms rising, the justice center since that first meeting we've met many more allays and have began a concerted effort to raise awareness about gun violence and offer education about gun safety and the truth is most people don't understand the danger that surrounds them everyday, dangers that are made possible by our current gun laws this open carry laws allow in public places like parks where our children play allow guns to be carried, this still permits allows weapons in restaurants where our families gather and in last each individual church forbids it, concealed carry means that guns are entering the places where we gather to worship the prince of peace the gun laws we have now seem to be a reaction to the climate of fear that permits our lives, our fears are reinforced by the habits we embrace everyday in the name of safety, we walk through ,metal detectors to enter schools, we install alarm systems in our homes and we carry guns everywhere we go these metal detectors and alarm systems could be useful but their pervasiveness in our lives reinforces the notion that we are never safe when in reality most of the time we are safe, guns may even be necessary under certain conditions but their [INAUDIBLE] in our communities does make us less safe guns it seems has become the idol we worship in the misguided pursuit of safety. As a profit Isiah told his listeners and many of us when they were faced with similar polarizing issues,

he said come now, let us reason together, that the council of churches would we believe there is a reasonable way for us to promote gun safety while respecting gun rights. Many gun owners and gun violence prevention advocates share similar safety goals. And during the month of July, the North Carolina Council of Churches is calling on all communities of faith to offer gun safety information to their congregations to become aware of the current gun laws in our communities and most importantly to provide safe space for gun safety and gun rights advocates to work together for reasonable and fair laws that go beyond political polarizing. On the weekend of June 17th through the 19th which marks the one year anniversary of a manual AME church shootings in Charleston South Carolina. We are encouraging communities of faith to raise awareness of gun violence by remembering those Emmanuel nine during their weekend worship services and to join us for a stand up Sabbath the North Carolina Council of Churches is calling on all people to stand up for the hope filled future promised to us rather than succumb to the fear propagated around us. Thank you. >> I'd like to invite, >> [APPLAUSE] >> Who is a mother of two and one of the recent One of the nearly 41,000 North Carolina members of MomsRising who are here with us today. Sarah serves on the state wide steering committee for MomsRising. [BLANK_AUDIO] [APPLAUSE] >> [COUGH] Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity Opportunity to speak with you today. My name is Sarah Sydney. As a mother of two young children, I don't often have the occasion to speak at press conferences but the issue of gun violence is something that I think about everyday. Stories and images of shootings and gun deaths pervade our headlines and news. Gun violence is so So common placed in America. As a parent, this epidemic is not an issue that I think of only in terms of my own personal safety. In fact, it occupies my mind primarily because of my children. We hear shocking statistics such as, each year more than 20,000 children under 20 are killed Killed or injured by firearms in the United States. Or that guns are the second leading cause of death of children and teens in America. And I realize that the threat gun violence poses to my children's safety indeed, the threat to all children living in America is very real and very terrifying. No family in America is immune to gun violence. It is the accidental shooting of children that are perhaps most frustrating and tragic because they are so highly preventable. in 2015 there were well over 265 accidental shootings involving children in the United States. the majority of this involve shooters who are toddlers or young children firing guns completely by accident or teens playing with guns recklessly. Our state of North Carolina has seen it's share of tragic unintended shootings. In April of this year a 17 year old county girl was killed When the gun her friend was handling accidentally discharged. And a 16 year old boy from Caldwell County was held when the gun he was showing a friend accidentally went off. In January, a 3 year old in Lumberton died after he accidentally shot himself with a handgun he had found in a store where his father was working Was working. And last November, a two year old from Henderson County was shot and killed when the loaded shotgun her babysitter had left on a table in a room full of children accidentally discharged. These accidental shooting deaths of children are a uniquely American epidemic. A simple Google search of the words child accidental shooting yields page upon page of results. New stories from across America of children injured or killed because they found a gun an adult had failed to store properly. About two thirds of these unintended deaths take place in the home or a vehicle that belongs to the victims family most often with guns that are legally owned but not secured. This means that two thirds of this tragedies could be avoided if gun owners stored their guns responsibly, and prevented children from accessing them. I think it's misleading to call this shootings accidental because that implies that they happen by chance. or that there is little that can be done to prevent them. The guns children find first pass through the hands of adults. There are gun owners in one out of every three households with children. So it is likely that our children have classmates and friends who

live in houses where there are guns. Any Parent will tell you, that if you turn your attention away from your kids for two minutes, they will fond something that they are not supposed to get into. 1.7 million American children live in homes where guns are kept loaded and unlocked. As we see from the tragic headlines, children find these guns so easily, and And the consequences are so devastating. We as parents can work to prevent unintended shootings, with a simple two minute conversation. As parents, we can ask about the presence of guns and their safe storage in the homes where our children visit and play. It doesn't occur to most of us to ask about Guns in the home before a play-date or a birthday party. But it's no different than asking about peanuts or pets if our children have allergies, or about pools if they cannot swim. It's a matter of health and we ask because we want to protect our children from any and all preventable injuries. We must have these conversations with other parents and we must educate people in our communities about safe firearm storage. And the importance of asking about guns in the home. This is how we prevent this strategies. Gun owners and none gun owners all can agree that protecting our children from harm is our priority. We can do so by asking is there a gun in my home where my child will be playing? If so it's is stored properly? I applaud the Brandy campaign by asking safe kids initiative. Millions of Americans parents have already taken the pledge to ask about gun storage in the homes where there are children play. It is a question that might not be at the front of most parents minds when we accept an invitation for our child to play at another child's house. But it is one that could save a life. A possible price of not asking is not one that I am willing to pay and I don't think any parent is. June 21st has been declared National ask day I I invite all parents and care givers to pledge on that date to always ask about guns in the home. As one mother who spoke on behalf of the ask campaign put it, even though we never had a gun in our home, we lost our son to an unintentional shooting so before every play day ask the question That could have saved my kid's life. Is there an unlocked gun where your kids play? The Us campaign is not about demonizing people, judging people, or dividing people based on our beliefs about guns in the second amendment. There are many things in this world that are outside of our control. Control. There are many things we simply cannot prevent when it comes to protecting our children. But we can prevent accidental shootings, through responsible gun ownership, and by asking about safe gun storage in places our children go. Please join me in pledging to ask on June 21st. It could save your child's life. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Good afternoon as your last speaker I promise I'll be brief, and I won't repeat what my other co-partners have said because I agree with every, Everything they've said. My name is Nicole Barnes, I'm here representing Moms Demand Action for gun sense with the North Carolina chapter. As you have heard today there are very deep issues, complex issues here around the notion of common sense gun reforms, and my other partners in speaking have articulated what several of those are. I wanna bring us back to why we're here, And why we are all wearing orange today when you look around this room. Well one of the reasons that this has become a national color for gun violence awareness is that this is the color that hunters wear when they go out hunting. And why do they wear it? They wear it because it helps them and protects their life so they are not shot unintentionally when they are out hunting. That's one reason why we do this, we're here to To make sure that people like us, people in our communities are not unintentionally shot. This is something that affects all our communities here in North Carolina and as Episco/g eloquently said, it's something that each of us can very actively in our small ways and in big ways contribute to. I wanna underline something here that wearing orange is not about politics It's not about the gun debate or choosing a side. It's about ending gun violence and saving lives. I actually don't care which side of the issues you are one, saving lives is something I think everyone can rally around. Becky already articulated the seven different events going on around the State today for moms to mend action other groups to raise awareness, and like [INAUDIBLE] This is not something you do just one day a year. I wanna call out several mayors for encouraging and adopting proclamations that their towns are in favor of gun violence awareness today. That is Mayor BillBell in Durham,

Mayor Hemminger in Chapel Hill, Mayor Lavelle in Carrboro, Mayor Roberts in Charlotte, and Mayor Stevens in Hillsborough. I think this shows you just a few of our communities here in North Carolina that are saying no to gun violence, and how can we be practical together. In closing, I just wanna state that this is actually a happy day for the gun violence awareness movie or a movement in that we wanna make sure that this is a time to celebrate life. We know that addressing gun violence is nothing simple, it's not gonna be solved in one day, even in one year perhaps even one decade. But I think we can all agree that with 90 people dying every single day in America from gun violence that is 90 people too many, and lets scale that back more and more as we possibly can because together we can make sure that number is zero thank you. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Also [INAUDIBLE] joined by Representative Insko is been overall champion on the gun violence prevention are there any questions? Well thanks everybody for coming thank you all and thank you for all you did we so thanks. >> Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO]

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