Biden Demands Gun Ban After Armed Felon Murders Four Police Officers in Charlotte

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

Joe Biden wasted little time before demanding gun control after an armed felon murdered four law enforcement officers and injured four others in Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday, calling on Congress to pass a ban on so-called assault weapons and "large capacity" magazines as well as "universal" background checks. 

Biden also called on Congress to impose a national "red flag" law as well as federal storage mandates for firearms, but North Carolina's two senators were quick to reject the president's demands. 

“That is why it is profoundly disappointing that President Biden is using this horrific attack on our brave law enforcement officers to call for gun control measures that would not have prevented this tragedy, given that the murderer was a convicted felon who had no legal right to carry or own a firearm,” [Sen. Thom] Tillis said in a written statement. “Instead of playing partisan politics, President Biden should instead stand with the Fraternal Order of Police and support the Justice for Fallen Law Enforcement Act and the Protect and Serve Act to give federal prosecutors all the tools they need to hold violent criminals fully accountable for targeting, attacking, and killing law enforcement.”

Tillis also sent his condolences to the families of the officers killed and his prayers to those recovering.

“This is a tragic reminder of the dangers law enforcement faces every day, including serving warrants to violent criminals,” Tillis said.

Tillis had said in the past he does not support a semi-automatic weapons ban, and [Sen. Ted] Budd, who owns a gun store and shooting range, voted against Tillis’ bill, staunchly fights against anything he believes infringes on Second Amendment rights.

Budd on social media offered his prayers to the families of the law enforcement officers killed and told both the U.S. Marshals Office and Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department he sends condolences and renewed support.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for Budd’s office responded Biden’s call for stricter gun policy saying: “Senator Budd believes that we should keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals without violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners — something President Biden’s warmed over gun-control proposals would fail to do. Instead, President Biden should find the strength to rid his party of the elements that call for defunding police and encourage violence.”

According to police, the man responsible for the killings was a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal history, who arguably should have been behind bars instead of on the streets. 39-year-old Terry Clark Hughes Jr. managed to rack up 49 criminal charges since 2001, but only served two short prison sentences; one starting in 2011 and a second stay starting in 2013. 

Hughes’ convictions in the state stretch from Person County near the Virginia border to Alamance County west of Chapel Hill to Chatham County south of Chapel Hill, according to N.C. Department of Public Safety records. Crimes included felony breaking and entering and possession of a firearm by a felon. Mecklenburg County prosecutors dismissed charges against Hughes including fleeing to elude arrest, possession of marijuana up to a half-ounce, driving with a revoked license and felony counts of manufacturing marijuana and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana. 

Asked at the news conference if Hughes should have been freed, Jennings said he could cite “hundreds of examples of people who should not be out preying on our citizens. And I’ve been pretty vocal about that, particularly with juveniles.

“I will say the system is not completely where it needs to be,” Jennings said. “But we have so many people involved, we’re overwhelmed. We’re overwhelmed in the court system. I don’t have answer. “But I can tell you that I am focused on holding people accountable for the crimes they commit, whether that means incarceration, probation or a fine.”

This guy violated multiple laws, but according to Biden if we just put a few more in place then the problem is solved. As Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said, the court system is already overwhelmed. What does Biden think is going to happen if we create more non-violent, possessory "crimes" carved out of our right to keep and bear arms? At best they're going to be used as plea bargaining chips against violent offenders, but more likely than not it's going to be responsible gun owners who'd bear the brunt of these infringements. 

While Biden's call for congressional action is likely to go unheeded, Monday's shootings will almost certainly end up having an impact on pro-Second Amendment legislation in this year's legislative session in North Carolina. Republican Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger has already expressed his reluctance to take up Constitutional Carry during an election year, and with Democrats in Raleigh joining Biden to demand a gun control response to Monday's murders, I doubt he's going to do anything to encourage his fellow Republicans to get to work on a permitless carry bill. Given the Republican supermajority in both the House and Senate, I don't think we're going to see any new gun control measures become law either, but I'd be downright shocked if Constitutional Carry starts moving through the House in the coming days. The issue has nothing to do with a repeat offender murdering law enforcement officers, of course, but I've seen no indication that Berger is going to have the courage to strengthen the state's Second Amendment protections when Democrats are calling for a gun ban.