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Mayors group pushes gun legislation in Saturday rallies

With the U.S. Senate allowing a gun bill to hit the floor, the group leading the grassroots advocacy campaign is making another push in North Carolina to rally support.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will hold three events across the state Saturday. Click below for the details about the Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh events.

In North Carolina, gun ads coincide with rallies

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns group released the two television ads expected to hit North Carolina in the next two weeks as it ramps up the effort to require more comprehensive background checks for gun buyers.

Both ads -- "Responsible" and "Family" -- feature a bearded man in a hunting camouflage hat sitting on a pickup truck tailgate holding a gun while his family plays in the background. The man says he supports the Second Amendment but also background checks to keep criminals and the "dangerously mentally ill" can't purchase a gun. (One ad above and the other below.)

NC voters support background checks for gun buyers

A recent poll found that a majority of North Carolinians favor mandatory background checks for gun buyers.

The survey found that 90 percent of Tar Heel voters favor gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, with only 8 percent opposed, and 2 percent not sure, according to a survey commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The survey also found that 81 percent said they agreed with reasonable restrictions on gun ownership to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other who people who are are already barred from having guns.

The survey was conducted by Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen who is close to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is heading up the mayors effort to win new gun restrictions. Schoen also did polling for the Clintons and other Democrats.

The poll of 800 North Carolina voters was conducted Jan. 28-31 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Local mayors appear in video to boost gun control effort

A national mayors group is trying to keep the pressure on Congress to take action on gun laws following the Newtown school shootings with a new public service announcement.

The 1:26 minute video features Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Durham Mayor Bill Bell. The two get small cameos in the spot. "No more makeshift memorials," Kleinschmidt says in the quick-cut piece. "Demand action," Bell adds later in the spot.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the producer of the spot, said it represents a shift in the group's campaign for tougher gun laws as it asks Congress to take action to pass legislation requiring background checks in all gun sales, limit high-capacity ammunition magazines and toughen penalties for gun trafficking.

Morning Memo: Charlotte issues, legislation thwart McCrory announcement

CHARLOTTE ISSUES STEAL McCRORY'S THUNDER: Gov. Pat McCrory triumphantly returned to his home city Monday for an economic development announcement -- but you wouldn't know it from the front page of The Charlotte Observer this morning. Two controversial local issues -- control of the airport and Carolina Panthers stadium upgrades -- stole the show and the front page. McCrory punted on the airport issues but said the effort to transfer control from the city to an independent authority needed more thought. And on stadium upgrades, McCrory said no to the use of state money. (More on those stories below.) Expect more of the same today, when McCrory holds a press conference with the Metro Mayors Coalition but will likely face myriad questions about voter ID and other legislation.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House will convene at 2 p.m. but no votes are expected; the Senate opens at 2:30 p.m. to consider a handful of legislation on the calendar. The action is on Gov. Pat McCrory's desk where four bills await his signature -- including a bill to block Medicaid expansion and prohibit a state-based exchange. McCrory's press conference starts at 2:15 p.m.

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- a tipsheet for North Carolina politics. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. ***

Foy passes on Senate run

Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy has decided not to seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate next year.

Foy, 53, had been exploring a Senate bid for several months as he prepares to end his tenure as mayor of the college town, reports Rob Christensen.

He said his decision was as much personal as it was political.

"I've been in elective office for 12 years," Foy said. "I felt I wanted to do something new. It didn't involve a campaign and didn't involve another office. It was not something I wanted to do right now."

Foy, a law professor at N.C. Central University in Durham, has been active in a number of liberal causes. He was co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns along with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and he was a member of Mayors for Peace, which advocates abolition of nuclear weapons. He is chairman of the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, a group of the mayors of the state's 26 largest cities.

There are already two Democratic Senate candidates: Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Chapel Hill attorney Kenneth Lewis. Former state Sen. Cal Cunningham of Lexington is expected to join the race shortly.

Hagan undecided on gun vote

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan declined to tell reporters this morning how she plans to vote on a concealed weapon amendment scheduled for a vote in less than 30 minutes in the Senate.

"We’re still looking at it,” she told reporters today in her weekly conference call, reports Barb Barrett. “That’s something we’re going to be working on as soon as I hang up this phone.”

The Thune Amendment, by Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, would require states to recognize concealed weapons permits issued in other states. Individual states have varying laws on who can carry concealed weapons.

Te amendment would be added to the 2010 defense authorization bill.

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