Burr Challenger Pushes for Background Checks

Democrat Deborah Ross says the 'right time is now' to talk about gun laws

North Carolina's Deborah Ross has to find a delicate balance between protecting gun rights and background checks. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the wake of the shooting at an gay nightclub in Florida, North Carolina Senate candidate Deborah Ross, a Democrat running against incumbent Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr, called for "commonsense"  gun control measures, the Salisbury Post reported.  

"The right time is now" to talk about how to prevent more violence like Sunday's massacre in Orlando, Ross said Monday at an event in Kannapolis, North Carolina, adding that background checks could be a way to prevent terrorists and people who have a history of violence from getting guns.

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High Point University poll in March found some support in the state for certain gun control measures, with 89 percent of those polled saying they supported requiring background checks for gun buyers, including at gun shows and at private sales.  

It also found that 56 percent supported banning high-capacity ammunition clips while 52 percent supported banning assault-style weapons.  

But the same poll showed that 57 percent of North Carolinians said that protecting the constitutional right to own guns was more important than protecting citizens from gun violence.  

"The Second Amendment is very important, but we have to have commonsense gun safety," Ross said.  

[ Can This North Carolina Democrat Become the Next Kay Hagan? ]  

Gun control was one of a flurry of issues that former Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan faced in her failed re-election campaign against North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis in 2014. Hagan voted to support background checks the previous year and ended up losing to Tillis 49 to 47 percent.  

Ross faces an uphill battle against the incumbent. The race is rated Leans Republican by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.

Contact Garcia at  EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com  and follow him on Twitter  @EricMGarcia .

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