Republican Gov. Pat McCrory downplayed the importance of the gun debate in Washington, a day after the president announced measures in response to the Newtown school shooting.
"What happened to all we were going to talk about was the economy," McCrory told a Raleigh radio station. "I think we have plenty of gun laws on the books" that aren't enforced.
Soon after the Connecticut shooting, McCrory appeared open to the idea of more armed guards in the schools but he didn't mention the idea in the interview Thursday. "Let's work with the laws on the books," he said. "We don't need any more laws."
McCrory said the anti-gun people are just shooting themselves in the foot with the discussion about banning assault weapons. "You are only getting more people to buy new guns," he said. "This is foolish."
UPDATE: The N.C. Democratic Party breathlessly weighed in by midday, calling McCrory's comments "atrocious." Spokesman Clay Pittman issued a statement reading in part:
The Governor has gone off the edge, hand in hand the radical right-wing, on the issue of gun control in this state and in this country. ... North Carolina needs a governor who is willing to take on the tough questions, and show true leadership on this issue. Instead, what we’re left with, is Governor McCrory dismissing gun control efforts as 'foolish.' North Carolinians should be disgusted. ... Would he say that to the families of the 335 North Carolinians who were shot and killed in 2011 (the last year that data is readily available)? Would he say that to the families of the 87 people across the United States that are gunned down every day? That it’s “foolish” to think that this country would be a safer place without assault weapons? That it’s “foolish” to think that military-style clips have no place on this country’s streets? Would he say it to Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, to the families of the 32 people killed at Virginia Tech, or the 12 killed in Aurora, CO? Would he say that to the families of the 27 people, including 20 children, that were killed last month in Newtown? Governor McCrory should be ashamed. North Carolinians deserve better."