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Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer

Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer

The folks running the North Carolina General Assembly may decide to buck public opinion yet again in the coming weeks and force through Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer’s legislation to put killing machines in the hands of more dangerous people, but one gets the sense that the momentum to stop such proposals and preserve some of the state’s remaining modest and common sense gun regulations is growing.

Schaffer’s bill is now drawing national attention as is evidenced by the fine op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer by Prof. Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins University entitled “Making it easier for criminal to get guns in NC.” Here’s Webster:

“Research indicates that the proposed changes would lead to more violent crime in North Carolina. A study of legal handgun purchasers in California during the period just before the state barred violent misdemeanants from possessing handguns found that violent misdemeanants were roughly 10 times more likely to be arrested for committing a violent crime after purchasing a handgun than were truly law-abiding purchasers. When California changed its law to prohibit persons convicted of violent misdemeanors from having firearms, the newly prohibited group was much less likely to commit violent crime than individuals with similar criminal histories who legally acquired handguns prior to the change in the law.

If you want to know what happens when a state repeals a law requiring background checks for all handguns sales, you can look to the state of Missouri. Read More

Commentary

5-11-15-NCPW-cartoon1[This post has been updated.] As explained in the post immediately below, the House Rules Committee was scheduled to take up a bill this morning to further liberalize North Carolina gun laws. Late last night, however, the meeting was, thankfully, cancelled. Greensboro News & Record columnist Susan Ladd explains this morning why the bill “is not designed to ‘protect’ or ‘affirm’ citizens’ Second Amendment rights. It is designed to keep expanding those rights beyond the realm of reason.”

Here is Ladd’s handy summary of what the bill would do in its present form:

• If you’re a business owner and don’t like the idea of your customers packing heat, tough beans. Your only option is to place a large sign in a prominent location notifying customers that weapons are prohibited. But like the right of parlay in “Pirates of the Caribbean, this is more like a guideline than a rule, because violating the notice would no longer be a misdemeanor but simply an infraction.

• Schools would be unable to forbid students and teachers from having guns in their locked vehicles on school grounds. I’m sure that long walk to the car and the laborious process of unlocking it would be sufficient to keep a person bent on violence from using a gun on fellow students or teachers.

• Doctors would be forbidden Read More

Commentary

GunsAs long as North Carolina is going to regulate guns about as effectively as a broken down banana republic, it might as well pass laws in a similar way.

That’s about the only conclusion that one can draw about the attitudes of the folks running the General Assembly after this afternoon’s announcement by North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore that the House will press ahead with a new and thus far undisclosed version of controversial gun legislation. Not only did Moore issue an edict that the bill will be taken up in the House Rules Committee tomorrow morning (a committee that’s generally supposed to deal with matters related to managing the affairs of the House rather than substantive matters like gun regulation), he also proclaimed that it would pass the committee and then be voted on on the House floor a few hours later.

Good to know that tomorrow’s committee will be so open and honest.

No word yet on whether Moore will allow anyone other than supporters of the bill to speak at tomorrow kangaroo committee meeting. Given that the outcome has already been decided (as well as past experience in the Judiciary Committee with this dreadful proposal) there seems to be little reason to get one’s hopes up. Those wanting to listen in to the “debate” in committee tomorrow should visit the General Assembly’s audio broadcasts page and click on Committee Room 1228 at 9:00 a.m.

 

Commentary

For the first time in a while in North Carolina, advocates for common sense gun regulations are showing some real spunk (and getting some traction) in combating legislation pushed by the Second Amendment fundamentalists. Scroll down to see the new TV ad from the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. This is from a release that accompanied the ad’s release:

“The ad highlights the broad consensus among North Carolinians against HB 562—the gun lobby-backed bill that would repeal North Carolina’s requirement that all handgun buyers get a pistol permit, a process that includes a criminal background check. The ad features recently released polling paid for by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund showing that 87 percent of North Carolinians support background checks on all gun sales and a letter from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association urging the Legislature to remove the portion of HB 562 that would repeal the state’s background check law. The bill would allow felons, domestic abusers, and other people prohibited from having guns to evade background checks by shopping with unlicensed sellers online or at gun shows….

In the past year, 819 permits in Wake County were denied to prospective handgun buyers, including felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill. If HB 562 passes, those dangerous people would be able to meet a stranger online and buy a handgun with no questions asked. “

Here’s the ad:

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Commentary

GunsThe Greensboro News & Record tells it like it is this morning in a polite but firm editorial regarding the controversial House bill to further liberalize North Carolina gun laws. The editorial is entitled “Doctors and guns” and it rightfully labels the proposal to gag doctors who would ask their patients about firearms in their homes an unconstitutional abridgment of the First Amendment:

“Health and safety are their business. A patient can exhibit signs indicating a risk for suicide or aggression without explicitly expressing a desire to harm himself or others. While the bill does not directly prohibit doctors from asking about a patient’s access to guns, it prevents them from informing police. Imagine a psychiatrist examining someone like Seung-Hui Cho, the 2007 Virginia Tech mass-murderer, finding him in a troubled state of mind, learning he has firearms, but being barred from telling police because of Cho’s right to ‘firearms privacy.’

Because of physicians’ free-speech rights, this measure should not survive a legal challenge. But it demonstrates how completely many state legislators have surrendered to the gun mania afflicting the country.”

The editorial concludes this way:

“The bill has other unsound provisions. It would:

• Weaken criminal background checks.

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