ROCKINGHAM—North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis is catching flak for his support of a bill that some — including one Richmond County commissioner — see as an unconstitutional gun control measure.
Commissioner Andy Grooms, a Republican, was in front of the Terry Sanford Federal Building in Raleigh on Friday to protest the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which passed the US Senate Thursday evening and the US House on Friday.
Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr were among the 15 Republicans to join Democrats in passing the bill in the Senate. “I am proud of my work to advance commonsense, bipartisan legislation that improves mental health care, strengthens school safety, and saves lives while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding North Carolinians,” Tillis said in a statement Thursday evening. “I am grateful for the work of my colleagues Senators Cornyn, Murphy, and Sinema to find common ground and produce solutions, and I look forward to seeing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act signed into law soon.”
Burr also released a statement, praising the legislation.
“It provides funding for states to expand mental health services, with flexibility to implement crisis interventions that best meet their local needs,” Burr said. “It also provides much-needed funding to bolster school safety and support law enforcement. And it strengthens the background check process by including relevant juvenile mental health and criminal records for those under the age of 21 and closing loopholes currently exploited by domestic violence offenders.”
This is Burr’s last year in the Senate.
There were also 14 Republicans — none from North Carolina — in the House who helped to send the bill on to President Joe Biden.
Prior to the House vote, Rep. Richard Hudson spoke in opposition to the bill, specifically the funding for red-flag laws, which he said subvert due process.
“Why would we agree to borrow more money that we don’t have so that the federal government can give it to states to enact laws that don’t work and threaten the rights of our citizens? Why would we do that? Hudson wanted.
Last week, John and Nisha Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute warned against red-flag laws.
“While in theory it appears perfectly reasonable to want to disarm individuals who are clearly suicidal and/or pose an ‘immediate danger’ to themselves or others, where the problem arises is when you put the power to determine who is a potential danger in the hands of government agencies, the courts and the police,” the Whiteheads wrote.
During his speech, Hudson also railed against measures that delay firearm purchases for those under 21 and broaden prohibitions for those convicted of misdemeanors.
Instead, Hudson made a last-ditch proposal for his legislation, which was blocked for consideration.
Hudson is set to represent eastern Richmond County, pending reelection, under new congressional maps.
Congressman Dan Bishop, who currently represents all of Richmond County, had issued no statement on his website or on Twitter by 6:30 pm Friday.
The elected officials from the GOP are being punished as RINOs — Republicans In Name Only.
While protesting, Grooms wore a rhinoceros hat and held a sign calling Tillis a traitor.
“This is no compromise, this is a sellout,” Grooms said in a Facebook post with photos from a rally. “They joined with all 50 of the (D)emocrats in saying ‘we don’t care about due process’ and ‘we will continue to waste (your) tax dollars on (whatever) we like.’”
Grooms added that Tillis’ office in Raleigh was “magically closed” with no staff to listen to concerns of the constituents.
The group North Carolinians Against Gun Violence is praising Tillis and Burr.
“We are pleased that both of our Senators realize that North Carolina desperately needs protection from gun violence,” said Becky Ceartas, NCAGV executive director. “2020 was the most violent year of the 21st century with 1,699 gun related deaths.”
Biden’s office issued a statement of administration policy following the Senate’s passing Thursday evening, concluding: “While the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act does not include additional important steps the President has called for as part of his comprehensive gun crime reduction agenda, it would make meaningful progress to combat gun violence.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism