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House resolution reaffirms constitutional gun rights

While the session’s most substantive gun bill is undergoing surgery to work out differences between the House and Senate, representatives passed a resolution Wednesday declaring their support for the Second Amendment.

After some argument back and forth between Republicans and Democrats, who criticized the resolution as meaningless, the House voted 73-35 to approve HR63 by Rep. Michael Speciale, a Republican from New Bern.

The resolution is an expression of support for the right to bear arms and opposition to “any infringement by the federal government.” It was approved in a committee earlier Wednesday.

Freshman representative's bills summon fiery Constitutional imagery

Freshman Rep. Michael Speciale, a Republican from New Bern, says he studies the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence all the time. The ex-Marine has cranked out a lot of bills in his first session that reflect his interests and, presumably, his constituents, even if they won’t necessarily become law.

Just Tuesday, he filed two bills and a resolution with sweeping titles that summon the imagery of constitutional battles for freedom: Enabling Patriots Act (a gun bill that, according to its title would protect citizens against “violent sociopaths”), Protect Against Suspension of Rights (directing the attorney general to sue to determine if the president's war powers are constitutional, and, if they are not, establishing protections for the citizenry), and State’s Right to Claim Sovereignty (a resolution based on the 10th Amendment).

The gun bill, HB624, is the most substantive and, in fact, pulls together ideas from earlier efforts to ease gun restrictions, primarily: allowing guns on school grounds if they are locked in a vehicle or are carried by someone with a concealed weapon permit; allowing a concealed weapon permit-holder to carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol, and allowing concealed handgun on greenways, picnic areas and on other recreational grounds.

Another Speciale bill filed Tuesday would allow people convicted of non-violent felonies to regain gun rights in a shorter time. It’s just called Amend Firearms Restoration Law.

House Republicans push gun resolution to the floor

An official statement affirming the N.C. House's support of the second amendment won approval in a committee Tuesday but questions linger about the wording of the non-binding resolution.

The resolution, sponsored by freshman Republican Michael Speciale, says President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and members of Congress "have proposed ... actions that would have the effect of infringing on the right of American's to keep and bear arms."

In the debate, Democratic Rep. Marcus Brandon asked bluntly: "Do (resolutions) have to be factual?"

"There's absolutely nothing factual in the bill," Brandon said later, saying it's all opinion.

"Facts are facts," Rep. Tim Moore, the Republican committee chairman responded, saying the N.C. General Assembly can find facts as it deems fit.

Some in GOP concerned with Republicans overreaching

The Senate GOP-driven bill to replace the members of key state commissions with new appointees and, in some cases, to make the panels more business-friendly, continues to make some Republicans uncomfortable.

On Thursday, SB10 cleared the House with a resounding 70-42 vote (with Republican Reps. Chuck McGrady of Hendersonville and freshman Michael Speciale of New Bern voting against it). But the vote belied serious reservations within the GOP.

Veteran Rep. John Blust, a Greensboro Republican, voted for the bill but warned his colleagues about overreaching the mandate that put his party in charge of state government.

“I don’t like this idea, ‘Well we have the power, let’s go ahead and do it,’” Blust said on the floor. “Just because we have power we need to be judicious with it. I wish we would be more careful with it. The people have the right to yank us in two years and put someone else in.”

Morning Roundup: Mining board zingers, time for N.C. Railroad to pay up, lawmaker blasts NAACP

Tensions are increasing as the state's new fracking board -- known as the Mining & Energy Commission -- finds its footing. Some members want to clamp down on "grandstanding" at meetings.

It's time for the N.C. Railroad to pay back the state for all the support it has received over the years, under a bill filed in the General Assembly.

State Rep. Michael Speciale, a Republican from Craven County, fired off an angry email calling state NAACP leader Rev. William Barber's comments racist. Speciale's email opened the door for Barber to unleash another attack on a Republican legislator.

1359815667 Morning Roundup: Mining board zingers, time for N.C. Railroad to pay up, lawmaker blasts NAACP The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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