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North Carolina bill to examine ban on gun stores near schools

(NEW YORK) — A North Carolina bill would examine whether closing gun stores near schools can improve safety after a series of high-profile mass shootings across the country.

The proposal would study the impact of gun stores within 1,400 feet of schools and daycare centers to see if banning them would make a positive impact on the safety of school-aged children. The proposal would not look to close existing gun shops, but make it harder for new ones to open.

North Carolina state Sen. Natalie Murdock told ABC News the idea for the bill came shortly after the back-to-back shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. That same week, the 4-year-old niece of her friend died from an accidental shooting after finding a gun in her home, she says.

She noted that safe zones currently exist near schools. She says if sex offenders cannot be within certain distance of a school, it shows that there’s a way to prevent having guns in close proximity to schools.

The state senator says new gun shops should have to answer how close they are to schools and daycares, and conversations should be had about whether they are too close.

Murdock, who says she grew up in a gun-owning household, says for years North Carolina lawmakers proposed gun reform legislation from universal background checks, red flag laws, to raising the age to purchase guns to 21.

Those ideas, she says, have not garnered much traction.

She added, “I am tired of quite frankly politicians that are afraid to talk about gun safety and gun reforms. We’re getting this wrong.”

With the North Carolina legislature currently in session, Murdock says she plans to hand deliver her proposed amendment to Republican majority leaders and hopes to pass the bill with bipartisan support.

She says she wants to have a flexible approach to the legislation given that they are in a short legislative session.

Murdock says her team has also been in talks with lawmakers in legislatures in California, New Jersey and New York.

In Durham, North Carolina, Mayor Pro Tempore Mark-Anthony Middleton tells ABC News he plans on introducing the study in the city council.

Middleton, who says he is a gun owner and Second Amendment supporter, tells ABC News the measure isn’t about shutting down gun stores. Instead, he said, it “is about what kind of future we want to craft, maintaining the Second Amendment and keeping our kids alive. I don’t think that’s mutually exclusive.”

Michael Ceraso, a Democratic strategist and the founder of communications consulting firm Winning Margins, said he is supporting Murdock’s efforts to localize and nationalize this study. He told ABC News that he feels that Democrats can win on gun control if they coordinate with local governments.

Republicans have been successful in their efforts to codify lax gun laws in the courts because of their ability to win local elections, Ceraso says.

Murdock says gun reform doesn’t necessarily mean being anti-gun, but it does mean gun safety that includes laws, rules and regulations to protect children. She says she believes this is a tipping point for the country on the issue.

“The nation is listening and watching, and I don’t think we can let this opportunity pass us by I think we have to honor all of those who have been murdered recently, unfortunately, to say, we got to step up and do something from the federal level to the state level,” she said.

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