CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — The mother of UNC Charlotte shooting victim Riley Howell spoke out Tuesday night against a resolution that would make Haywood County a 2nd Amendment sanctuary. Natalie Henry-Howell shared her personal story to encourage commissioners to give it careful thought.
Riley died after he tackled a gunman on the UNCC campus on April 30, 2019, saving countless lives.
“He chose to fight that day,” Henry-Howell said.
Riley was 21-years-old.
“These things that we are considering are important,” Henry-Howell said at the Haywood County commissioner’s meeting. “They’re important for the safety of us all and I would really appreciate it if everybody could consider that as we try to balance the need for self-protection and the need for the protection of others.”
Henry-Howell’s remarks received a standing applause from the packed room.
“My family has been shattered by gun violence,” she said. “And every minute of my life has changed since then. I will never get Riley back.”
Reed Parlier was also killed and four others were hurt in the shooting when a gunman opened fire inside a Kennedy Hall classroom.
The discussion was not on the meeting’s agenda.
The Haywood County commissioners did not vote on the 2nd Amendment sanctuary resolution but are expected to take it up soon.
Some North Carolina counties are taking a stand against any new laws they believe would violate their 2nd Amendment rights.
The debate between residents and Cabarrus County commissioners got heated at times Tuesday night while discussing to uphold 2nd Amendment rights.
Several people asked the Board of Commissioners to approve a resolution to uphold the right to bear arms even though a vote was not on the meeting’s agenda.
"I believe my right to bear arms is already in the Constitution and the amendments,” one resident said. “It’s a sad state we have to ask for a resolution to uphold those.”
More than 1,800 people signed a petition to get the county to pass the resolution.
Resident Barbara Strang, who is running for the Concord City Council, called out commissioners for what she called a lack of support.
“Your actions and lack thereof have shown us that you have not stood with us since the first time you received word, and the first time you've received the petition,” Strang said. “I'm going to keep it short and sweet, but I think this speaks volumes of where we stand and where we are.”
The vice-chair of the board said a Facebook page is blaming the commissioners for not supporting residents but said no one had asked for their opinions.
The board unanimously approved to uphold the 2nd Amendment right.
Earlier this week, Gaston County commissioners proposed making the county a 2nd Amendment sanctuary. Alexander, Cleveland, Catawba, Lincoln and Union counties have approved similar resolutions.
While the topic isn’t often on the agenda for meetings like the one Tuesday night in Cabarrus County, word spreads quickly on social media and people from both sides of the issue show up in record numbers.
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