Tragedy spotlights need for tougher gun laws

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June 2016 BNC

June 2016

Gun violence is a national epidemic, but the massacre in Orlando set a new mark for depravity and hatefulness. The tragedy made me despair over the timing of our June cover story explaining the growth of gun manufacturing in North Carolina. It was a fair, balanced story involving the typically diligent reporting by Senior Contributing Editor Edward Martin. It took months for Ed to win the confidence of the gun companies, including Sturm Ruger & Co., which opened its doors in Mayodan to allow a photo essay by John Gessner that depicted the high technology involved in gunmaking.

The story noted that federal officials now license 364 gun manufacturers in our state, which is attracting more business as companies flee Connecticut and other Northern states that are imposing restrictions on gun purchases and ownership. It also explained how tragedies and fear stoked by politicians consistently drive increased sales. In the first day after the Orlando shooting, Sturm Ruger shares gained 8.5%.

We tried to present an unbiased, accurate view of the gun industry. Our magazine does not preach or issue opinions except in dedicated columns. Every public policy issue has nuances.

But we share the plea of so many people since the Orlando shootings: The madness truly needs to stop. Tighter gun control measures are essential for slowing down our society’s violent culture. It is absurdly easy for deranged people to buy and carry powerful weapons that serve no hunting or defense purpose. The unbending influence of the National Rifle Association must be broken and replaced by common-sense reforms supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

Our cover headline, “Bringing the heat,” reflected the business relocations by gunmakers to North Carolina and other Southern states. Now, the phrase needs to describe the pressure placed on our lawmakers to make changes that can lessen or stop future acts of hate and wanton violence.

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