Charlotte congressional candidates split on need for tougher gun laws
Updated: February 15, 2018 at 7:19 pm
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By Jim Morrill, The Charlotte Observer
A day after 17 people died in a mass shooting, two Republicans running for Congress in the 9th District say no new gun laws are needed.
U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger said existing laws need to be enforced. He pointed to the fact that the accused killer in Tuesday’s Florida school shooting cleared an instant background check when he bought the AR-15.
“Nikolas Cruz passed a background check,” Pittenger said in a statement. “(House Democratic Leader) Nancy Pelosi’s call for additional gun control is a case of misplaced priorities. America needs to focus on the root causes of violence by addressing mental health and the glorification of carnage in games, TV, and music.”
Mark Harris, a former Charlotte pastor, said at their root, recent mass shootings are caused by some combination of the breakdown of families, mental illness and an “addiction” to violent video games.
“I believe that there are laws in place that aren’t being enforced,” he said. “Enforcing the laws we have has to be the key rather than creating new laws.”
Democrat Dan McCready, a Charlotte business owner and former Marine, said he supports “common-sense gun violence prevention.”
“As a Marine, I was trained to use a gun to kill and know how deadly they can be,” he said in a statement. “I am quite certain that we can maintain the rights I fought for while also making it harder for terrorists, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill to get a weapon.”
He said he supports a bill by Sens. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, that would require background checks on all commercial gun sales. A similar measure was defeated in 2013.
Democratic candidate Christian Cano could not be reached.
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