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McCrory's school safety report favors restricting campus guns to SROs

State Rep. Tim Moffitt, a Republican from Asheville, on Friday tweeted a link to his legislative website, where he has written a defense of relaxed gun laws.

Moffitt defends the gun bill signed into law this year that expands the places people with permits to carry concealed guns can bring their weapons, which includes schools if locked in a container in a vehicle.

“Contrary to what the media wants us to know, almost every public mass shooting that has taken place in this country has occurred in a so-called ‘gun-free zone,’” Moffitt writes. “Since the implementation of the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1995, there has been a 370 percent increase in the rate of school shooting deaths.”

There were several unsuccessful bills last session that proposed to put more weapons on school campuses, including by arming teachers and volunteers with weapons.

Media conspiracies aside (the rate of gun violence at schools has been well-reported), Gov. Pat McCrory’s initiative to make sure schools are safe released its first report on Friday, which calls for more school resource officers.

“The key finding here is that when properly trained and equipped, SROs are thought to be the only professionals who should be required or permitted to carry weapons on school campuses,” the report concludes.

Gun-rights bill passes General Assembly

Legislation that expands the public places where people with permits to carry concealed handguns can bring their weapons, toughens the penalties for some gun crimes, closes a loophole in the handgun permit system, and strengthens federal background checks passed the House and Senate on Tuesday night.

Missing from the compromise bill worked out between the two chambers was the Senate’s controversial provision that would have repealed the current law that requires county sheriffs to conduct background checks and issue handgun purchase permits.

The votes were largely along party lines. The House voted 73-41, and the Senate 32-14.

Tillis backing Senate's rewrite of House gun bill

Looks like House Speaker Thom Tillis supports the House gun bill that the Senate rewrote. In a tweet over the weekend, Tillis directed followers to a National Rifle Association website that urges members to contact legislators to support HB937.

“Those like me who want HB937 passed: Check out this link from the NRA and help us get it done,” Tillis’ tweet said.

The bill originated in the House but only expanded places where guns could be carried in public. The Senate got hold of it and made a major change: eliminating the current background checks on pistol purchases conducted by county sheriffs, and rely on the federal database checks.

The N.C. Sheriffs Association opposes that provision. The NRA says it opposes a compromise that has been floated that would allow handguns to be transferred through licensed gun dealers, but require permits for private transfers at gun shows or other sales conducted not through licensed dealers.

The bill is in a conference committee to work out what its House sponsor described as technical changes. It wasn’t clear until now how the House leadership felt about the rewrite.

Sanford, Weiner, Spitzer -- Edwards, not so much

Reborn politicians have been all the rage lately, with South Carolina’s Mark Sanford returning to office as a U.S. Congressman, and former Congressman Anthony Weiner and ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York venturing back in the fray.

Don’t think that means the path to John Edwards’ return has been cleared.

Only 15 percent of North Carolina voters have a favorable opinion of him, according to the latest PPP survey, and 67 percent have a negative view. Those are close to the same numbers he had a year ago.

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.

Senators, representatives will work on gun bill differences

So far the House is not embracing the Senate’s major re-write of its bill expanding the public places where firearms can be taken. On Tuesday, the House voted not to concur in the latest version of the bill and sent it to a conference committee.

Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, a Republican from Charlotte, characterized the differences as largely technical and said she thought they will be resolved. She noted that the House version of the bill had 13 provisions and it came back from the Senate with 28 provisions.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, husband confirmed for Raleigh visit Sunday


As Dome reported last Sunday, former Arizona Congresswoman and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut and combat veteran Mark Kelly, will wrap up their seven-day, seven-state tour across the country in Raleigh on Sunday.

Details have been withheld until Friday night, and even now the precise location has not been publicly disclosed. Reporters will be given information once they are confirmed.

All that's known now is Giffords and Kelly will go shooting at a local sporting clay range in the morning, followed by a roundtable discussion with gun owners, and then a picnic with local members of their gun-control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. The couple will meet with reporters after the roundtable.

Giffords and Kelly have targeted states to generate support for expanded background checks for gun purchases. The Washington Post reported that they are visiting states to thank congressional representatives for their position on the issue, or to put pressure on them to support the checks.

The couple is spreading the message that polling shows large majorities of Americans favor expanded background checks, regardless of party affiliation. Their group promotes Second Amendment rights but stronger laws to prevent gun violence.

Update: Paul Valone, president of the gun-rights group Grass Roots North Carolina, on Saturday afternoon chided the couple for keeping their itinerary secret.

He announced a game of "Where's Gabby?" and offered 100 rounds of semi-automatic weapon ammunition for free to the first person who figures out where the Raleigh shooting range is.

Gabby Giffords, husband bringing anti-gun violence tour to N.C.

Former Arizona congresswoman and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, will include North Carolina – possibly Raleigh – in a nationwide anti-gun violence tour in North Carolina that begins Monday and ends July 7.

The couple will begin the tour in Nevada and will visit Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Ohio. Specifics for their N.C. visit haven't been announced.

Dubbed the Rights and Responsibilities Tour, its purpose is to promote responsibility in exercising Second Amendment rights. The couple supports expanded background checks. It is sponsored by a group calling itself Americans for Responsible Solutions, which Kelly co-founded.

McCrory speaks out on classroom abortion bill, pistol permits, taxes

Gov. Pat McCrory, speaking in Greensboro on Friday, tipped his hand on a coule of controversial bills that could be headed to his desk for approval.

As reported by The Greensboro News-Record, he said he wants county sheriffs to continue to issue pistol permits, rather than leave background checks to the federal database system. He’s also in favor of requiring middle-school students be taught that abortion is a risk factor for premature births.

House passes gun bill; Democrats object to GOP tactic tabling amendments

As expected, the state House on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons to bring their firearms into bars, restaurants that serve alcohol, college campuses and parks.

Approval of what is likely the major gun bill of the session – by a vote of 78-42 -- came after lengthy debate on Monday and Tuesday. Democrats emphatically complained that the GOP leadership repeatedly thwarted their efforts to amend the bill.

Republicans used a legislative maneuver to table proposed amendments 12 times (once for a Republican amendment). Before Tuesday’s session, Democratic lawmakers called a news conference to complain about the tactic limiting the debate.

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