Under the Dome

Dome: Ads call for better background checks for gun buyers

Staff writersMarch 25, 2013 

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns group released two TV ads expected to hit North Carolina in the next two weeks as it ramps up the effort to require more comprehensive background checks for gun buyers.

Both ads – “Responsible” and “Family” – feature a bearded man in a hunting camouflage hat sitting on a pickup truck tailgate holding a gun while his family plays in the background. The man says he supports the Second Amendment but also background checks to keep criminals and the “dangerously mentally ill” from purchasing a gun.

The $12 million national ad buy in 13 states coincides with rallies across the country Thursday to push for the effort – including events in Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro and Raleigh.

The Charlotte event will feature faith community leaders and gun violence survivors while Mayors Bill Bell and Mark Kleinschmidt will tout the effort at the Durham event. Kim Yaman, a gun violence survivor, will help lead the Raleigh rally and petition drive.

GOP’s King stepping down

The N.C. Republican Party will see a complete leadership change at the top. GOP Vice Chairman Wayne King announced Monday he would not seek re-election at the party’s June convention. Chairman Robin Hayes previously announced he would step down.

“I am confident that the future is very bright for our party,” King said in a statement. “Our new governor and our Republican majorities in the state House and state Senate are charting a new conservative vision for our state that will protect our freedoms, transform our economy and return our state to prosperity.”

King recently joined U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows’ office as a senior adviser.

Gov. Pat McCrory is backing former Wake County GOP Chairman Claude Pope to replace Hayes and lead the party. The list of candidates for vice chairman is wide open. One announced candidate is former state Rep. Glen Bradley.

Senators vote no on budget

North Carolina’s two U.S. senators voted against the federal budget bill approved in the wee hours Saturday morning – but for very different reasons.

Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, voted against the spending plan put forth by her party because she was concerned about the cuts to the military. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, cast a dissenting ballot because he thinks the federal spending cuts didn’t go far enough to reduce the nation’s debt.

The budget passed 50-49. Hagan was one of four Democrats to vote against the budget – all in politically sensitive re-election battles next year.

Hagan forms committee

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has formed a Small Business Advisory Committee. The Greensboro Democrat will look to the group to advise her in developing policy to support the state’s small businesses. Hagan serves on the Senate Small Business Committee.

Her advisory committee will 15 to 20 small-business owners and advocates in the state; its co-chairs are Oscar Wong, founder and owner of Highland Brewing in Asheville; Andrea Harris, president of the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development; John Cooper, owner of the Mast General Store; and Paul Wetenhall, president of Ventureprise, a public-private nonprofit that seeks to be a catalyst for entrepreneurial innovation.

“A robust dialogue between the small businesses owners on the ground and the people who craft legislation is crucial to making sure policies in Washington reflect the needs of our small businesses,” Hagan said in a statement.

Staff writers John Frank and Mary Cornatzer

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