- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 29, 2022

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said Sunday that policymakers trying to tighten gun laws must remember that fear of crime is a prominent cultural issue and that Republicans are scared of looking weak and losing primaries.

Mr. McCrory, a Republican, lost a recent U.S. Senate primary by 34 percentage points to Rep. Ted Budd, who enjoyed former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

Mr. McCrory said that, as mayor of Charlotte, he reduced the murder rate by 50% due to “some tough law enforcement and some mentoring and other programs.”

Even so, “I lost a primary two weeks ago to a congressman who had a gun in his front trousers in a commercial,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And that was a more powerful message to the constituency voting in that primary. He was tougher. I was weaker, and yet my record of accomplishment and fighting crime is unsurpassed.”

Mr. McCrory offered the example as Congress debates stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting that killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Mr. McCrory was at the forefront of the culture wars in 2016, when he failed to win another term as governor amid pushback over a “bathroom law” that ordered transgender people to use the public restroom for their sex at birth. Today, Mr. Trump and others are casting him as a timid “RINO” — Republican in name only.

SEE ALSO: Texas state senator ‘disgusted’ by police response in Uvalde shooting

In that vein, Mr. McCrory said fellow Republicans are being pushed to the right on gun laws, partly as a backlash to liberal policies that result in courts releasing dangerous people.

“We’ve got people who don’t trust right now the criminal justice system,” he said. “We’re letting criminals go — you see the DAs in L.A., the DAs in some of these cities where they’re letting criminals go crime after crime after crime, and people are going, ‘You know, I’m gonna take this into my own hands. I’m gonna protect my family. I’m gonna protect my home.’”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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