Anti-gun Senator Shoots Intruder-Mostly Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
It’s been reported that R.C. Soles, a former anti-gun senator from North Carolina, shot an intruder in his home.
Former North Carolina State Sen. R.C. Soles shot an intruder at his North Carolina home in 2009, but the claim that Soles was an “anti-gun senator” doesn’t check out.
The shooting unfolded at R.C. Soles’ home in Tabor City, North Carolina, in August 2009. Soles told police that two former clients of his law firm were trespassing on his property, and that he shot one of the men in the leg as he tried to break Soles’ door down.
State investigators said that R.C. Soles had “acted unlawfully” in the shooting, and a grand jury agreed. A grand jury indicted Soles for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Soles pleaded guilty to the charge in February 2010 and paid a $1,000 fine for the offense.
Interestingly, that wasn’t Soles’ only run-in with a former client of his law firm. He was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon in 2012 for allegedly hitting another former client in the face with a metal walking cane, but he was found not guilty in that case.
The idea that an anti-gun senator had shot an intruder started with a 2011 post on a Field & Stream community page. The commenter said that Soles, a Democrat and the longest serving North Carolina senator at the time, acted hypocritically because he had “made a career of being against gun ownership” and then used a gun in his own defense:
The Senator, who has made a career of being against gun ownership for the general public, didn’t hesitate to defend himself with his own gun when he believed he was in immediate danger and he was the victim. In typical hypocritical liberal fashion, the “Do as I say and not as I do” Anti-Gun Activist Lawmaker picked up his gun and took action in what apparently was a self-defense shooting. Why hypocritical you may ask? It is because his long legislative record shows that the actions that he took to protect his family, his own response to a dangerous life threatening situation, are actions that he feels ordinary citizens should not have if they were faced with an identical situation. It has prompted some to ask if the Senator believes his life and personal safety is more valuable than yours or mine. But, this is to be expected from those who believe they can run our lives, raise our kids, and protect our families better than we can.
The post is wrong on several fronts. First, R.C. Soles himself admitted in pleading guilty that he had not “acted in self defense.” Second, Soles hadn’t “made a career of being against gun ownership” before the shooting, either.
The National Rifle Association gave Soles just one rating below a B+ for his gun-friendly views in the North Carolina State Senate from 1996-2008, according to VoteSmart.org.
Grass Roots North Carolina, a non-profit dedicated to gun rights, gave R.C. Soles a lower favorability rating on gun rights between 1996 and 2008. That group rated Soles’ support of pro-gun legislation at 80%, 63%, 63%, 20%, 64% and 68%. So, it’s clear that Soles’ rating was from a local pro-gun group was lower than the NRA’s rating — but it’s not accurate to say that Soles had “made a career” of being against gun ownership based on his record, as has been claimed.
Rumors about the so-called anti-gun senator who shot an intruder have cropped up a number of times since 2009. In 2013, the original Field & Stream post appeared on a FOX News community blog as a “flash back,” and that rekindled the story. In 2015, the story was re-reported on a blog site called Wizbang. That report made it appear that the tale of an anti-gun senator who shot an intruder was a new one, and the report repeated outdated and incorrect claims about the situation.
So, although R.C. Soles did shoot an intruder back in 2009, we’re calling the claim that an anti-gun senator shot an intruder “mostly fiction.” Soles voting record just doesn’t support the claim that he was an “anti-gun senator.”