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North Carolina child safety officials to advocate for safe gun storage in 2023

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North Carolina child safety officials said they will try again next year to convince lawmakers to approve a statewide education campaign on the safe storage of firearms. fire.

In 2021, 116 children died from gunshot wounds, including homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. Firearm deaths were the leading cause of injury death in 2021 among children in North Carolina.

According to state data, as of 2020, more children are now killed by firearms in North Carolina than by motor vehicle accidents. And the use of firearms in underage suicides has also risen sharply.

Gun sales have increased in North Carolina in 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic, and many of these guns are not stored safely.

According to a state survey last year:
  • 42% of North Carolina adults said they have a gun at home
  • 45% said they store it charged
  • 53% of these gun owners say they don’t lock them up

Even before the pandemic, the Child Death Task Force advocated for a statewide education campaign on safe gun storage, including free gun locks. Alan Dellapenna, a member of the task force, said it was also a school safety issue because most firearms used in school shootings are brought from home.

“The problem is not going away, we know that,” Dellapenna said. “We would like to alleviate the problem in the state and start the work.”

In 2021, the State House passed a bill to fund the program and put it on the budget. However, the state senate declined to consider it. The bill’s sponsor and state Sen. Bobby Hanig, of R-Currituck County, said Senate leaders won’t tell him why.

“We’re not going to accept gun bills this year,” Hanig said. “That’s about all I have. I don’t know if there are underlying reasons or not.

Hanig, who previously served in the State House, is now in the Senate. He said he plans to try again for the program next year. Hanig said it was not a partisan issue and it was not anti-gun.

“I’m a 100% Second Amendment big person,” Hanig said. “And that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.

“This is just common sense. And, it’s education. And, it’s voluntary. Nothing mandatory about it. Nothing says you have to.

WRAL News asked state senate leaders why the safe gun storage bill hasn’t moved forward. They didn’t answer.