Published: Jan 19, 2013 04:20 PM
Modified: Jan 19, 2013 04:13 PM
MORRISVILLE - Mayor Jackie Holcombe has received plenty of criticism since she asked the local Gander Mountain store to stop selling semi-automatic rifles.
Online commenters, many of whom remained anonymous, turned to media outlets and other Internet forums in response to Holcombes Jan. 3 blog post. Some have called her a blithering idiot, heathen and narrow-minded.
Holcombes post was in response to the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead.. Holcombe said she has received more than 300 e-mails since her blog garnered media attention.
She appeared Monday alongside the mayors of Durham and Chapel Hill to call for common-sense gun-law reforms. Their statement, in coordination with the Mayors Against Illegal Guns lobbying group, asked Congress to require background checks for all gun buyers, a ban on military-style assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and to make gun trafficking a federal crime.
Holcombe said most of the e-mails shes gotten are from residents outside of Wake County. Many are form letters from the gun rights group Grassroots North Carolina, she said.
These plans involve clear violation of my Second Amendment rights and will not be tolerated, the letter reads. Nothing in these proposals is acceptable to North Carolina gun owners. No compromise will be accepted.
Despite many peoples negative reaction, Holcombe said she doesnt regret speaking out.
Honestly, the good news is we are having the discussion, she said.
But Holcombe said the degree of some peoples anger has surprised her.
I frankly am quite shocked that there is anyone who doesnt support background checks for all gun purchasers and equally as shocked to hear people take exception to make gun trafficking a federal offense, she said.
Not all the feedback has been bad, though. Holcombe said many people have approached her to say thank you. Others took to her Facebook page to commend her.Criticism from other town leaders
Holcombes blog has brought ire from beyond the Internet. Morrisville Town Council members Mike Schlink and Mark Stohlman said Holcombe overstepped her bounds by posting the towns official seal in her request to Gander Mountain.
My main concern with her approach is she really used the office as a mayor as a means to get to a larger audience, Stohlman said. That this is her viewpoint is fine. But I think she really abused her office as mayor.
Stohlman said hes gotten about a dozen e-mails from people asking the town not to overstep its authority.
The overwhelming message is to stay out of retailers business, said Stohlman, who plans to run for mayor this year. Your place as a small-town mayor is to run the small town. Meanwhile, business at the local Gander Mountain is doing well, said company spokesman Jess Myers.
As far as store business goes, we have seen a very brisk and encouraging level of business at our Morrisville store since it opened, and are delighted by the positive response we have gotten in the region, Myers said in a statement.