Protesters gathered at the historic courthouse in Hillsborough on Saturday calling for action on gun safety legislation and linking recent shootings to growing acts of “white nationalist terrorism” across the country.
A coalition of groups locally and from across the state gathered for Saturday’s press conference following multiple shootings in recent weeks where more than 30 individuals have been killed in California, Texas and Ohio.
Speakers – including the Orange County-based Hate Free Schools Coalition, the North Carolina NAACP and North Carolinians Against Gun Violence – called on lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly to vote on multiple bills aimed at decreasing gun violence.
Democrats in the North Carolina House of Representatives signed discharge petitions this week on two gun safety bills in an effort to force a debate and vote on the House floor. But without Republican support, the bills remain in committee without receiving a hearing up to this point in the long session.
Crowd gathering outside historic courthouse in Hillsborough as rally is scheduled to begin momentarily. pic.twitter.com/kKop2RVnvH
— WCHL & Chapelboro (@WCHLChapelboro) August 10, 2019
Saturday’s rally also came in the wake of individuals waving Confederate flags taking to sidewalks in downtown Hillsborough, which Mayor Tom Stevens happens “from time to time.” Stevens said town police had been on the scene at the time in an attempt to keep everyone safe. But, Stevens conceded, the flaggers did have a right to be on the sidewalk.
“You have a right to be here,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s not particularly welcome.”
Speakers on Saturday said the gun safety legislation and rising acts of white nationalism in the country need to be addressed and are increasingly tied together.
Mayors in Chapel Hill and Carrboro also joined more than 200 of their colleagues across the country this week in calling on the United States Senate to come back from its August recess to address gun safety bills passed by the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives but so far stalled in the Senate.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled an interest in voting on measures dealing with gun safety when the legislative body returns next month. He made clear, however, that the Senate would not be called back early to address any legislation.