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Column: Dear Tim Moore, good guys with guns won't save us

Students rally outside of the Legislative Building in Raleigh in a protest against gun violence organized by the UNC chapter of March for our Lives on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

After a second campus lockdown due to an armed individual this month, our North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland, Rutherford) suggested that UNC needs more firearms to be safe.

"Criminals are going to have guns," Moore said to News & Observer reporters on Thursday morning at the legislative building.  "And the best deterrent against a criminal with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” 

Because that is what our campus requires right now. More guns.

Hey Tim, if you're not too busy fighting allegations of attempting to bribe your affair partner's husband at Biscuitville, let's imagine what your perfect world – where students and professors are allowed to carry guns on campus – looks like. 

You are in the Student Union grabbing a bagel from Alpine Bagel. After an argument at the register, you see someone draw a gun. 

You, of course, stay strapped. So, you pull out your constitutional carry weapon, fire and take down the threat! Thankfully you – a good guy with a gun – were there to stop it. You go and grab your bagel. 

I, having heard gunfire, run into the Student Union. Upon seeing a gun drawn and a body on the ground, I pull out my gun. As you try to tell me you're actually the good guy with a gun, I fire. 

I feel confident in my actions as a “Good Guy With a Gun” (trademark pending). Luckily, during an active shooter scenario, there’s never any chance of confusion. Bad guys with guns are easily recognized by their twirlable cartoon mustaches. 

This is true! It says so in the Constitution. 

Tim, you can go back to failing at passing a state budget. 

Tar Heels, it's clear to me that the Republican General Assembly supermajority does not care if you live or die.  

I believe gun violence can only be solved by getting rid of the guns. There are no “good guys with guns” who will save us. Research shows that being a gun owner makes you far more likely to be shot yourself. 

Surely, if more guns meant more safety, then the United States would be the safest place in the world. We have twice the number of guns per person as the next highest country. Yet, we lost over 48,000 people to gun-related deaths in 2021 — that's more people than the student, faculty and staff populations at UNC combined.

Moore knows this. It's why the N.C. legislature, including his office, is one of those "gun-free zones" he recommends getting rid of at UNC. According to his logic, UNC would be safer with weapons in every classroom — but he is safer when anyone who brings a weapon near him is tackled and charged with a misdemeanor. 

It's why instead of engaging with student protestors on Tuesday, he decided to make fun of them

In case you forgot, Moore and the GOP recently made it easier for people to buy handguns like the ones used in both incidents on campus by removing the permit requirement.

If you’re asking, “What about the Second Amendment?” I don't care. It's a law, not gospel. We can change it. I don’t subscribe to the notion that everything in this country ought to be determined by the word of dead slave owners.

Maybe it’s because the National Rifle Association pays really well. To me, the GOP acts as if the trauma endured by everyone in this country affected by gun violence is just the cost of doing business.

Maybe it’s because they believe the nearly 50,000 people a year killed by guns in the United States are a worthy sacrifice at the bloody altar of the Second Amendment. 

Will banning guns get rid of all gun violence? No. But I think it will save thousands of lives every year. Guns make nearly every scenario more dangerous: from road rage to robberies and suicides. 

Australia's gun homicide rate fell 42 percent and the gun suicide rate fell 57 percent in the seven years after its landmark gun control law, the National Firearm Agreement, was passed. 

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Moore and the GOP know this. If they don’t, then I think they are a bunch of blithering morons who shouldn't be allowed to ride a bicycle — much less write legislation. I’m about 70 percent sure that's not true though. 

The more realistic answer is that they just don’t care.