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News14.com - Dozens gather in Raleigh to rally for tougher gun laws

June 22, 2013
In The News

By Preston Jones

RALEIGH -- Dozens gathered in Moore Square Saturday morning to rally for tougher gun laws.

The 100-day "No More Names" campaign tour is sponsored by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns to honor those lost in the December shootings in Newtown, Conn., something Neil Heslin knows first hand after losing his 6-year-old son Jesse in the same tragedy.

"Jesse didn't die of an illness, he didn't die of an accident. He died of a senseless brutal murder," said Heslin.

Joslin Simms also lost her son to gun violence back in 2005 and wants change.

"The gun shows, they don't do background checks," said Simms. "We don't know where those guns come from."

It's all a big push in favor of comprehensive and enforceable background checks for gun owners. Campaign supporters are against House Bill 937, which would allow concealed weapons on college campuses, at sporting events, on state property, and at businesses serving alcohol. Rep. David Price is also on board.

"Polls show that as many as 90 percent of North Carolinians agree that we need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," said Price.

Across the street from the rally, dozens of protesters held signs and yelled, "Guns save lives."

"Guns do save lives, that's the bottom line," said Josette Chmiel. "The media doesn't report story after story on a daily basis of legal law abiding citizens who carry guns, keep guns safely in their homes, and they protect their children."

But this campaign is more about honoring the kids lost and preventing more gun crimes in the future.

"I hope to see changes in the future to prevent anybody from going through what I've had to experience," said Heslin.

The rally also thanks Sen. Kay Hagan for her support of background checks for gun owners.