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Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer

Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer

Be sure to check out today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File“More guns, more guns, more guns” — which details the latest of gun deregulation nonsense at the General Assembly.

As Chris correctly points out in examining the legislation pushed yesterday in the House Judiciary I Committee by Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer (of anti-abortion fame):

“Jobs may still be hard to come by for thousands of people in North Carolina and many folks who are working are earning less, but lawmakers want to make sure that virtually everybody in the state can now buy a gun and take it anywhere they want regardless of the implications for public safety or property rights.

Whatever the question these days, more guns is part of the answer.”

The bill, which was approved in the Judiciary Committee yesterday, will be heard this afternoon in the House Rules Committee. Stay tuned for updates.

Commentary

It should be quite a session when the House Judiciary I Committee gathers this morning at 8:30 in the state Legislative Building. Among the four bills on the agenda for the one-hour meeting:

  • A proposal (sponsored by Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer — the sponsor of last week’s anti-abortion legislation) that would further relax the state’s already minimal gun laws to repeal handgun background checks, force private businesses to allow guns in parking lots, allow concealed carry permits for misdemeanants, and allow guns at the State Fair (click here for more info), and
  • A proposal to speed up executions in the state.

Meanwhile, just to add a little icing to the cake, the committee is also scheduled to take up a bill that would facilitate the hiring of private companies to provide police services in counties and municipalities.

Got it? More guns, more executions and more for-proft police. In other words, the nation’s gradual transformation into a banana republic on steroids continues apace.

Commentary

GunsIn case you missed it, North Carolina legislators produced another one of their inimitable, you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up moments yesterday. On the very same day that a disturbed and self-described Neo-Nazi confessed to shooting and murdering an innocent Wayne County Community College employee in cold blood earlier this week, House members defeated a bipartisan proposal that would have given law enforcement officials limited authority to destroy the gun he used to commit the crime if and when he is ultimately convicted.

Right now, in North Carolina, gun buyers and sellers are often free to obtain and re-sell weapons that were used to murder innocent people as state officials are, bizarrely, forbidden from destroying them in most circumstances. As the sponsor of the bill, Republican Representative Ted Davis of New Hanover County, noted in debate, families of murder victims can, under current law, be forced to see the weapons that killed their loved ones turn up for sale on eBay. Indeed, it’s quite likely there is nothing to prevent a dealer from ultimately obtaining the gun Kenneth Stancil used in Wayne County and touting its past use as proof of its effectiveness!

As Rep. Darren Jackson explained, the proposal was brought to the General Assembly by the District Attorney of Gaston County on behalf of law enforcement officers and court officials in his district as one small thing that state officials could do help provide a bit of peace of mind to people who put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizenry and who don’t want to see the weapons used by criminals back out “on the street.”

Amazingly, though, Davis’ and Jackson’s common sense arguments fell largely on deaf ears as the House defeated the proposal 63-50. Click here to see how your lawmaker voted.

In helping to defeat he bill, opponents like Rep. Jay Adams and Rep. Charles McGrady spoke in defense of the poor, defenseless and innocent weapons. Read More

Commentary

092210_1218_Soberinggun1.jpgIt’s a sad commentary that such action would even be necessary, but the folks at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence have launched a petition in which they call on caring and thinking people to join them in opposing legislation that would force deadly weapons into even more hands and safe places than they’re already allowed in our gun-crazy state.

Here’s the text:

Dear North Carolina General Assembly and Governor,

The undersigned North Carolinians voice their strong opposition to provisions in HB 562 that put residents of our our state in grave danger by expanding the kinds of places where guns are allowed and removing the pistol permitting system.

The pistol permitting system has been North Carolina’s solution to a federal exemption that allows private dealers to sell a gun without performing a background check. We are one of 17 states that have require all dealers, including private ones, to perform a background check. In states like ours that require background checks for private handgun sales:

  • 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners
  • There are 48 percent fewer firearm suicides, while the rates of suicide methods are nearly identical
  • There are 17 percent fewer firearm aggravated assaults
  • 48 percent fewer law enforcement are shot to death with handguns

By eliminating this successful permitting system, requiring arduous requirements for gun free signs, requiring employers to allow employees to secure a handgun in their vehicle at work, allowing concealed carry by people who are in locked cars at schools, and allowing guns at the N.C. State Fair everywhere but on rides, this bill makes our state less safe for all of us.

We urge you to oppose these provisions.

Sincerely,

Click here to learn more.

Commentary

(UPDATED – See below) There’s not a whole lot of encouraging news Moms Demand Actionemanating from the North Carolina General Assembly these days. Today at 12:30, for example, a House Judiciary committee took up legislation to allow some public servants to refuse to perform their sworn duties when it comes to marrying same-sex couples.

So, it was especially encouraging this morning to see and listen to the group of caring and informed citizens pictured at left who came to the Legislative Building to speak out against the ongoing gun violence epidemic that plagues our state. The group, Moms Demand Action, brought more than two dozen gutsy advocates to the halls of the General Assembly (some of them survivors of gun violence) to deliver cookies to legislative offices and inform state lawmakers that there is a wind shift underway when it comes to public attitudes toward guns.

Where once widespread apathy from average citizens allowed the N.R.A., the gun industry and other extreme pro-gun groups to bully lawmakers into doing whatever they asked without organized opposition, the Moms Demand Action citizen lobbyists informed lawmakers today that things are changing. Indeed, with more than 93,000 members in North Carolina and a growing list of successes around the country, there is every reason to believe that the group has begun the long, slow process of reintroducing a measure of sanity into the state’s gun violence debate.

Moms Demand Action tableThat said, there is certainly a heck of a mess to clean up — one that some lawmakers appear to remain bent on making even worse. Yesterday, in the latest effort to bring killing machines into every conceivable nook and cranny of our society, two Forsyth County House members introduced a “local bill” that would allow private school personnel in their county to bring guns onto campuses.

Moms Demand Action opposes the measure and has added it to its list of action items (along with the current and energetic #GroceriesNotGuns campaign to get Kroger and Harris-Teeter to join the list of responsible companies that ban loaded firearms from their stores). (Note: the original version of this story incorrectly stated that Moms Demand Action had taken no position on the bill).

If you’d like more information, visit www.momsdemandaction.org.