Durham, N.C. — The City Council on Monday was to debate putting its support by an effort to require background checks on people trying to buy bullets.
Such a restriction would require a change in state law, but some advocates said support from Durham could create the needed momentum to push a bill through the General Assembly.
"We don't sell guns to criminals, so why are we letting them buy the bullets?" said Rev. Melvin Whitley, a community activist who has fought against gangs and crime in Durham for years.
Whitley emphasized his point Monday by going to an intersection where a 14-year-old was hit by a bullet.
"If you've never been robbed and you've never had somebody stick a gun in your face (or) you've never had a gun to go off near you, you probably won't understand this issue," he said.
Gun owners said the so-called "bullet ownership bill" won't prevent crime.
"We need to focus on the person and not the object because a gun never jumped up off a table and went and committed an armed burglary," said Wallace Chambers, who said he has twice had to show his gun to protect himself in threatening situations.
Councilman Farad Ali said that, if Durham backs the "bullet ownership bill," city officials need to recruit other counties and cities to support it as well in the General Assembly.