MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — When it comes to guns found on school grounds in North Carolina, Mecklenburg County has led the state for the most guns found over the past 11 years, according to state data shared by our partners at the Charlotte Observer.
From 2010 to 2021, Mecklenburg County schools have accounted for nearly 23% of all firearm offenses in North Carolina. The county with the next highest number of firearm offenses was Guilford County, followed by Wake County.
By Channel 9′s count, just this school year, 34 guns have been found on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools campuses. That number that includes firearms and pellet guns. The State Department of Instruction says that’s more guns found than in the last 10 years.
‘We’re talking about preventing these tragedies from happening’
Parents across North Carolina are sharing a range of opinions on how to address school shootings, as well as concerns over who can access weapons.
“My children were the first generation to grow up and watch the Columbine and they had to deal with that,” one parent said. “And now my grandson is growing up in even a more violent world.”
“I don’t think anyone under the age of 21 should be able to purchase a gun,” said parent Britney Miles.
While there is a federal ban on people younger than 21 buying a handgun from a licensed dealer, in most states including North Carolina, a person only needs to be 18 to purchase a long gun.
“We’re talking about preventing these tragedies from happening,” said parent Wesley McMahon. “And a key part of the prevention is making the guns less available to people who shouldn’t have them.”
What are local and national lawmakers doing?
On Tuesday, North Carolina Congressman Richard Hudson filed legislation that would provide $1 billion in grants for school resource officers, another billion for guidance counselors and $5 billion toward programs training law enforcement in active shooting scenarios, in addition to school personnel to identify children at risk. However, Hudson pushes back on proposals focused on gun control.
“In some of these school shootings, the gun was stolen. In Columbine, it was bought by someone else in a straw purchase for the individuals,” Hudson said. “Criminals find ways to get their hands on guns.”
Gun violence took center stage on Capitol Hill Wednesday as survivors and victim’s families made emotional pleas for more gun control.
Miah Cerrillo, the 11-year-old girl who smeared herself with her friend’s blood and pretended to be dead during the shooting rampage at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, was among several people who testified before a House panel Wednesday.
In addition to Miah’s testimony, the committee heard from survivors and victims of the mass shooting in a Buffalo, New York, grocery store that took 10 lives; a pediatrician from Uvalde; the parents of a victim of the Uvalde shooting and others.
Those testifying included: Zeneta Everhart, the mother of Buffalo shooting victim Zaire Goodman; Felix and Kimberly Rubio, the parents of Uvalde shooting victim Lexi Rubio; and Dr. Roy Guerrero, the sole pediatrician in Uvalde.
The also heard from: Greg Jackson, Jr., executive director of Community Justice Action Fund; Joseph Gamaglia, Buffalo police commissioner; Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association; and Nick Suplina, senior vice president for law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety.
The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
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