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Guns bill clears House after debate curtailed

Posted May 7, 2013

— Legislation allowing concealed weapons on college campuses, state property, greenways and bike trails, at sporting events and in businesses that serve alcohol received final approval from the state House Tuesday.

House Bill 937 heads to the Senate after a 78-42 vote that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Democratic opponents who felt the Republican majority squelched debate on the proposal.

Proponents of the measure say it protects and expands the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while increasing punishment for those who use guns in the commission of crimes. It also requires more rapid reporting of mental health adjudications to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, in accordance with federal mandates.

"This puts some doubt in the minds of would-be criminals that they might meet some resistance," said Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford.

Democrats offered a series of amendments to the bill, but they were repeatedly cut off by a parliamentary maneuver that prevented debate. Some of the proposed amendments were tabled even before the sponsor had a chance to outline it for House members.

"We always try to set a good example, especially for the pages who work here, but what we're seeing here and what they're witnessing is not the way true debate happens," said Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe.

"We're simply following our rules," responded Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, the powerful chairman of the House Rules Committee. He pushed to table the seven amendments offered, including one put forth by Rep. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance.

Rep. Marvin Lucas, D-Cumberland, a longtime National Rifle Association member, said he supports gun rights, but he was disheartened that any effort to improve the bill was being curtailed.

"We all want this state to be safe," Lucas said. "Whenever we cut off wholesome debate to make a bill more palatable, I'm very gravely concerned."

Under the bill, private establishments that don't want firearms on their premises can post a sign to that effect. Private colleges also can opt out and keep their campuses gun-free.

Municipalities that have previously prohibited guns in local parks and trails would no longer be allowed to do that. All public community colleges and University of North Carolina campuses also would be required to allow concealed weapon permit holders to leave their guns in locked vehicles on campus.

UNC system officials have balked at the proposal, saying more guns on campus decreases safety for students, staff and visitors.

"More people with more guns is not necessarily going to make people safer," said Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange.

Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, said school tragedies such as the massacre at Virginia Tech could have been avoided if someone else had a gun on campus who could have taken out the shooter.

Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, said expanding gun rights simply adds to the nationwide gun culture. He said the state should take a stand and try to limit places where guns can be carried, similar to laws that cracked down on smoking in recent decades that helped erode a smoking culture.

Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, noted that efforts to boost seat belt use also changed the culture of vehicle occupants, but "no one ever tried to beat me to death with a seat belt."

Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Franklin, said that people shouldn't worry about law-abiding citizens with guns.

"The ones who are carrying guns no matter what laws we pass, those are the ones we should fear," Collins said.

45 Comments

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  • Dnut May 10, 11:22 a.m.

    “Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, said school tragedies such as the massacre at Virginia Tech could have been avoided if someone else had a gun on campus who could have taken out the shooter.”
    COULD HAVE….Lots of things COULD have been prevented *if* something was changed… BTW, didn’t Columbine and Senator Gifford’s both have armed *guards?*
    Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance
    May 8, 2013 4:57 p.m.
    >>>Maybe you should stick to the helicopters and Food insurance, LOL, Giffords had NO body gaurd and the officer at Columbine was all the way on the other side of the campus getting as many kids out "the way he was taught", instead of aggressively going after the shooters, OH, but didn't we have an assault weapons ban in place to prevent such things then...GOTCHA!

  • Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance May 8, 4:57 p.m.

    “Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, said school tragedies such as the massacre at Virginia Tech could have been avoided if someone else had a gun on campus who could have taken out the shooter.”

    COULD HAVE….Lots of things COULD have been prevented *if* something was changed… BTW, didn’t Columbine and Senator Gifford’s both have armed *guards?*

  • Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance May 8, 4:50 p.m.

    "People aren't supposed to kill either, but they do it."

    So what does that have to do with this bill? You honestly think that a person who is illegally carrying a firearm could not be sitting near you at a restaurant or bar? People will always do things they are not suppose to do.-Stilllearnin

    Yes, it is possible….it is also possible that there is a tank around the next corner and I ‘need’ an RPG to defend myself. Why is the GOP not protecting my "right" to defend myself but only yours?!? (Maybe you'll listen to Rush Radio logic)

  • Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance May 8, 4:40 p.m.

    “Democrats offered a series of amendments to the bill, but they were repeatedly cut off by a parliamentary maneuver that prevented debate. Some of the proposed amendments were tabled even before the sponsor had a chance to outline it for House members.”

    I thought the repub’s weren’t the party of no? Guess not…

  • Stilllearnin May 8, 4:38 p.m.

    "People aren't supposed to kill either, but they do it."

    So what does that have to do with this bill? You honestly think that a person who is illegally carrying a firearm could not be sitting near you at a restaurant or bar? People will always do things they are not suppose to do.

  • TiminNCisBack May 8, 4:04 p.m.

    It reminds me of the republican attempt to privatize education.
    Plenty Coups

    LOL, Thank goodness they did not mess with the WCBOE

  • TiminNCisBack May 8, 4:02 p.m.

    Do you want to go out to a relaxing dinner wondering what the people at the next table are packing?? ccsmith1902

    Did you stop to realize you do it today but don't know? Costco, Lowes, Walmart, shopping malls....

  • Dukefan1 May 8, 3:54 p.m.

    "cpm313, continue to ignore the obvious. Those with a NC CCW permit are not allowed ANY, that is .00, alcohol and carry, period."

    People aren't supposed to kill either, but they do it.

  • Dukefan1 May 8, 3:50 p.m.

    Let the Wild West begin!! Yeha!

  • Dukefan1 May 8, 3:49 p.m.

    These crazy people in the General Assembly don't represent me and how I feel. They have their own agenda and will pass their agenda come hell or high water!!

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