I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Chief Cerelyn Davis of the Durham City Police Department and Durham’s Sheriff, Clarence Birkhead, for organizing and hosting a news conference which brought together the chiefs of law enforcement agencies across our state to support National Gun Violence Awareness Day. This day is being set aside all across America to heighten the public awareness for the need for us to jointly do all that we can to support initiatives, policies, and campaigns which limit access to firearms to those who do not need them and would abuse them to hurt themselves or others, and promote gun safety. Durham is exceptionally unique because there is a heightened level of awareness relating to the need for sensible policies that will limit access to firearms. Ms. Jessica Hulick from Moms Demand Action was also recognized for her advocacy and support of sensible firearms legislation.
During my remarks, I discussed legislation which I had introduced in the Senate that would allow for a court to enter a temporary order to remove firearms from a person’s home if a member of the family or law enforcement filed a complaint stating that a person intended to use firearms to hurt themselves or others. These are known as Extreme Risk Protective Orders or Red Flag Laws, and they have been adopted in many states. If the court were to determine that there was no threat, then the guns would be returned to their owner. If the court determined that there was a threat, then the weapons could be removed for one year. These orders aid in reducing suicide as well as firearms being used against others. I also discussed a bill that I filed that would allow local communities to adopt ordinances that would allow law enforcement agencies in their jurisdictions to dispose of lost and stolen guns instead of having to resale them to the community. In Durham, over 800 weapons falling into this category came into the possession of our police department last year. Let me thank all of those who participated in today’s press conference, but, more importantly, I encourage each and every one of you to be proactive in advocating for reasonable firearms regulations.