A North Carolina man’s 4-minute take on gun laws echoed well beyond the city council chambers where he shared it Tuesday afternoon.
Greensboro resident Mark Robinson’s speech went viral after U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina shared it on Facebook on Wednesday morning. By Friday, the clip had been viewed more than 3.2 million times.
Robinson spoke during a public comment period in which several people shared thoughts on a gun and knife show slated for late summer at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan previously proposed canceling the show in response to the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting that killed 17 people in February.
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Some speakers on Tuesday agreed with Vaughan, and some advocated for more gun control across the nation. But Robinson argued that more gun regulation would come at the expense of his constitutional rights.
Robinson asked city leaders “when are you all going to start standing up for the majority?” – a group he said includes himself, as “a law-abiding citizen who’s never shot anybody, never committed a serious crime, never committed a felony.”
“I’ve never done anything like that, but it seems like every time we have one of these shootings, nobody wants to put the blame where it goes, which is at the shooter’s feet,” Robinson said at the meeting. “You want to put it at my feet.”
Robinson, who is black, is among the minority of male gun owners. Only 24 percent of non-white males said they owned a gun, while 48 percent of white men said they own a gun in 2017, making them the most likely demographic to own a gun, according to the Pew Research Center.
Robinson said he would turn in his guns if a new law required it, but said the law wouldn’t deter criminals from keeping their weapons.
“And guess who’s gonna to be the one that suffers? It’s gonna be me,” he said. “ … Our rights are the ones that are being taken away – that’s the reason why I came down here today. Gun show or no gun show, NRA or no NRA, I’m here to stand up for the law abiding citizens of this community.”
Mayor Vaughan, who said she owns a gun, said the city doesn’t have the authority to cancel coliseum events, but she proposed and the council approved donating proceeds from the show to a Greensboro police program to get illegal guns off the streets.