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Gun rights groups buys radio spots highlighting campus crime

Grass Roots North Carolina, a gun rights group, is taking aim at UNC President Tom Ross' opposition to a bill that seeks to loosen gun restrictions on campus.

House Bill 937 would allow those with concealed carry permits to bring handguns on university and community college campuses in locked cars. The bill has passed the House and is now before the Senate.

The pro-gun group has purchased 60 radio spots to be broadcast in the Raleigh, Greensboro and Asheville markets, drawing attention to recent campus crimes and allegations that UNC campuses have improperly investigated and handled rape cases.

Pro-gun group to protest at Burr district office

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr's vote to allow debate on the gun bill has drawn a protest from the pro-gun group Grass Roots North Carolina, which will demonstrate outside Burr's Winston-Salem office Tuesday morning.

Grass Roots North Carolina labels Burr a "sellout" for voting for the motion to allow debate on the bill that will expand background checks for gun purchases. Burr had threatened to vote against the motion, but changed his mind. He was one of 16 Republican senators who joined 50 Democrats and two independents in the 68-31 vote last week.

Burr has an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association.

Gun bill would eliminate sheriffs' mental health background checks

County sheriffs would no longer be involved in making sure applicants for concealed handgun permits have mental health issues that could disqualify them, under a bill introduced this week in the General Assembly.

HB310 would instead rely on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which the FBI maintains. The system relies on states reporting information on those who aren’t eligible, but as many as 2 million mental health records are not in the system, according to the National Center for State Courts.

Pro-gun rally outside statehouse draws crowd, speakers, lawmakers

A pro-gun rally outside the statehouse on Tuesday drew several hundred participants, who heard a string of speakers urging the General Assembly not to cave in to gun-control pressures.

"We're not going to compromise. We're not going to be reasonable," WPTF radio talk show host Bill LuMaye told the crowd.

Sen. Andrew Brock, a Republican who represents Rowan, Iredell and Davie counties, vowed to keep up the fight, especially protecting the legal right to carry concealed weapons.

"Each and every day people are targeted because they cannot carry," Brock told the assembled.

Several other legislators were also in attendance.

A bill filed Monday would make a declaration of support for the constitutional right to bear arms. It specifies that President Obama's attempts at gun-control would infringe on that right. It was filed by Rep. Michael Speciale, a Republican representing Beaufort, Craven and Pamlico counties.

A petition circulated at the rally to oppose the president's recent efforts to clamp down on gun violence.

Tillis doesn't see arming teachers as an answer to school gun violence

House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday he doesn’t favor arming teachers as a way to prevent gun violence. That’s the proposal that the gun-rights group Grass Roots North Carolina says will be in a bill, allowing teachers and other school personnel who have permits to carry concealed handguns bring their weapons on campus.

Tillis said it would be more likely the legislature would get tougher on those who use a gun to commit a crime. Focusing on mental health also makes sense, he said. But he said he didn't see any legislation tightening up on gun control coming out of the new session.

Tillis, making the remarks at a news conference previewing the legislative session that begins Wednesday, was non-committal on whether any pro-gun bills would clear the House.

“I don’t anticipate it at this time,” he said. “Members may bring up a bill and they may have merit, and we’ll move on that basis.”

House GOP leader counters political group's attacks

Rep. Paul "Skip Stam is taking issue with gun rights advocates who called him a weasel for opposing gun rights. Or more specifically in Stam's case, a bill to allow guns on private property.

Grass Roots North Carolina is upset with Stam's position on HB650, a bill that expanded the rights of gun owners on private property. Stam defended his conservative credentials, saying he was a strong supporter of property rights. And he questioned the bonafides of those who didn't agree. He passed along an edited transcript of his remarks during the floor debate. Here's an excerpt: "But there is something that actually goes back farther than the right to keep and bear arms. That of course is in the United States Constitution in 1791, and in our North Carolina Declaration of Rights in 1868. It was recognized that people had the right to keep and bear arms for hundreds of years before that. Long before people even had firearms, they had property."

Republicans labeled by gun rights supporters as 'weasels'

It's not often you see House GOP leader Paul "Skip" Stam being lampooned by conservatives.

But Grass Roots North Carolina, a political advocacy group that favors looser gun laws, is labeling Stam, Republican state Rep. Chuck McGrady and former GOP state lawmaker David Guice as "the three weasels of the North Carolina House."

The group charges that the "anti-gun" lawmakers didn't do enough to ensure gun rights in North Carolina -- and organizers are promising retribution in the 2012 election.

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