Vice President Kamala Harris plans to visit Charlotte on Thursday and talk about how to reduce gun violence in the United States.
Harris is one of several high-profile political figures making their way to North Carolina in the coming weeks, including First Lady Jill Biden, who will visit Raleigh for a campaign event on Jan. 26. Harris’ visit will come 11 days after a New Year’s Eve shooting in uptown Charlotte injured five people.
The vice president’s office said Harris’ event will gather educators, counselors, parents, gun safety advocates and local and state leaders to announce new funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that will help schools throughout North Carolina and across the country increase access to mental health resources from students.
The 2022 law is the largest piece of gun legislation passed in Congress in 30 years. Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, was instrumental in negotiations between the two parties in order to get a compromise bill that both sides could agree on. He worked with Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, among others, to find solutions that would address violent crimes, following the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
Shooting in Charlotte and other violent crimes
On Friday, White House officials said that because of the bill’s passage, the Justice Department successfully stopped the illegal purchases of more than 500 guns by people under 21 who pose a danger to their communities. President Joe Biden called on Congress to take further steps, like universal background checks and banning assault weapons, to combat gun violence.
Harris’ visit comes as Charlotte city leaders are grappling with how to stop youth gun violence, in particular, after the New Years Eve shooting.
Just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, gunfire broke out in Charlotte’s Romare Bearden Park, leaving five people injured and 19-year-old Daevion Crawford charged.
The Charlotte Observer previously reported that while violent crime was down in Charlotte in 2023, shooting by those under 18 years old increased 32% and city leaders have yet to come to a cohesive decision on what to do about it.
On Thursday, a school shooting in Perry, Iowa, left a sixth-grader dead and seven others injured.
Coming to North Carolina
Joining Harris in her trip to Charlotte will be U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
This marks Harris’ ninth trip to North Carolina since being sworn in as vice president.
She last visited Charlotte in June to mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark case that protected the right to have an abortion.
Besides Harris and the first lady, unaffiliated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will visit Raleigh on Friday.
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