U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- His political rise was nothing short of phenomenal and he made history in the process, rising from the level of Second Amendment activist before the Greensboro, N.C. City Council to becoming the Tar Heel State’s first Black lieutenant governor, running as a Republican.
His name is Mark Robinson, and from all indications, he is just beginning to make his mark on the political and social landscape. He spoke exclusively to AmmoLand about his sudden rise to prominence, an honest-to-goodness overnight sensation story launched from the Second Amendment platform.
Robinson won the election against long odds. His opponent, Democrat Yvonne Holley, got millions of dollars’ worth of advertising support from a group funded by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, according to WUNC, the North Carolina Public Radio network. He will have to work with newly-re-elected Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper, who survived a challenge by former Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican.
At 52, Robinson is no fan of former President Barack Obama, and he has reportedly criticized other Black Democrats. He and his wife of 30 years have two grown children, a son and married daughter, who has two children of her own.
The famous video of his furious, off-the-cuff remarks during a council meeting in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting tragedy, has been viewed by millions of people across the country. Typical for politicians and anti-gun activists, it appeared the city wanted to react to that terrible incident by promoting some gun restrictions. Robinson was in the audience that night, and he was having none of it.
“I went to the council meeting,” he recalled in a telephone conversation. “I heard such nonsense spoken at that meeting; a bunch of nonsense. I decided somebody’s got to stand up and speak common sense and bring some truth to that meeting.”
Suddenly, the burly Robinson—a man who had earned his living in furniture manufacturing—became that “somebody.” What happened next raced across social media at warp speed. For just over four minutes, Robinson recited the proverbial “riot act” to the council, which had been mulling gun control ideas.
“I’ve heard a whole lot of people talking tonight about this group or that group, domestic violence, blacks, these minorities, that minority…what I want to know is, when are you all going to start standing up for the majority,” he demanded to know.
“And here’s who the majority is,” he quickly added. “I’m the majority. I’m a law-abiding citizen who’s never shot anybody, never committed a serious crime, never committed a felony; I’ve never done anything like that. But it seems like every time we have one of these shootings, nobody wants to put the blame where it goes, which is at the shooter’s feet. You want to put it at my feet. You want to turn around and restrict my rights, constitutional rights, spelled out in black and white. You want to restrict my right to buy a firearm and protect myself from some of the very people you’re talking about in here tonight.”
If he didn’t have the council’s attention by then, Robinson gave them a hard dose of reality.
“It does not make any sense,” he stated. “The law-abiding citizens of this community and many communities around this country. We’re the first ones taxed and the last ones considered and the first ones punished when things like this happen, because our rights are the ones that are being taken away.
“That’s the reason I came down here today,” Robinson revealed. “I’m here to stand up for the law-abiding citizens of this community.”
He told the council the Second Amendment was written “for everybody, and I am everybody.”
“And the law-abiding citizens of this city are everybody,” Robinson concluded. “And we want our rights and we want to keep our rights. And by God, we’re gonna keep ‘em, come Hell or High Water.”
The audience erupted with applause, some even offering standing ovations. Suddenly, Robinson found himself in the national spotlight.
“One minute,” he recalled, “I was a guy in a factory, going to school, and the next day I had a mailbox full of letters and the NRA was calling me.”
Until that time, April 2018, Robinson was not an activist. He had worked in furniture manufacturing, lost two jobs because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—one company simply closed its doors and moved the company to Mexico—and he was working the third job at the time he appeared before the council.
He did have an interest in firearms. He was in the Junior ROTC program in high school, learning to shoot with .22-caliber rifles at the National Guard Armory. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve and attended Junior ROTC sessions at Fort Bragg when he was in his junior and senior years in high school, and during those sessions he had the opportunity to shoot a lot of firearms.
But when he left the Reserves, he didn’t own a firearm. At the time, he had a young family and other priorities.
Like so many citizens, he gradually became politically aware and active, and then came Parkland, in February 2018. The city, he recalled, wanted to cancel the gun show at Greensboro Coliseum and discussed it in March 2018. Robinson showed up at the April 3 meeting.
“They were gonna punish everyone here in Greensboro for what a criminal did in Florida,” he remembered vividly.
It was one of those “not so fast,” moments that put him in the room, with no prepared remarks. At the time, he really hadn't come to speak, but after listening to the discussion, Robinson's political fuse was lit. Relying on public speaking he had done in school, he delivered a stunning from-the-heart-and-gut speech that left the council and a couple of city officials wide-eyed, if the video is any gauge.
That was more than two years ago. Robinson subsequently became a member of the NRA Board of Directors filling an unexpired term, and then was elected to a new term.
But the opportunity to serve in public office arose, and he told AmmoLand, “I wanted to do something that was going to be effective; preserve the people’s constitutional rights.”
He considered running for several different offices but set his sights on the lieutenant governor’s race. Robinson described his campaign as “very grassroots, a populist campaign.” It obviously appealed to North Carolina voters. Here's a sample of his down-to-earth approach that earned voter support:
As the lieutenant governor, Robinson will serve on the State School Board, where he hopes to provide a conservative voice.
“I get to champion legislation,” he added with enthusiasm.
He will work with state legislators and try to expand gun rights for law-abiding citizens in North Carolina. He will also work on increasing care for military veterans. With his background in the private sector, especially having lost two jobs because of the NAFTA agreement, Robinson has the experience to keep him cognizant of the impact of state or federal legislation that could hurt or help the state’s citizens and its economy.
And there is the knowledge that if something were to happen that prevented Gov. Roy Cooper from finishing his term, Robinson would become the state’s chief executive officer.
For now, Robinson is looking ahead to serving in the office to which he was just elected. Who knows what the future might bring?
One thing is certain. If anti-gunners try to push restrictions on the Second Amendment durng his watch, they’ll find Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson a formidable obstacle.
About Dave Workman