Raleigh, N.C. — On a party-line vote, the House Rules Committee on Tuesday approved a resolution opposing any push for more gun control at the federal level.
House Resolution 63, sponsored by freshman Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, says (as amended) "The House of Representatives expresses support of the constitutional right of the people of this State to keep and bear arms and opposes any infringement by the federal government of the right of the people of this State to keep and bear arms."
"We right now have an out-of-control federal government," Speciale told the committee. "We here in the North Carolina General Assembly are the last bastion of hope between citizens and an ever-encroaching federal government."
The resolution says "Infringements such as registering guns, banning certain kinds of weapons and accessories, requiring extreme background checks, and restricting concealed carry permits" have not been been proven to protect public safety.
It also blames Democratic President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden for being the driving force behind the push for further infringements.
Asked whether any gun control legislation has yet been introduced, Speciale said he wasn't sure but said his bill covers "some of the things (gun control advocates) were talking about."
"Every time there's an incident, they want to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms, and it's a right," Speciale told the committee. "We just don't want any more infringement on our rights that have already been infringed upon."
Resolutions don't carry the force of law, staff explained; they simply express the opinion of the House.
"It's something designed to send to our congressional delegation, letting them know, 'You need to be there to protect us. You need to protect our rights,'" Speciale said.
Democrats took issue with the resolution, calling it "pointless" and "political."
"I don't understand why we have to have this resolution, if it's not specifically aimed at one proposal we would support or not support in Congress," said Rep. Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg.
"Do resolutions have to be factual, or can you just make stuff up?" Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, asked Rules Committee Chairman Tim Moore.
"There's absolutely no fact in that bill," Brandon said later. "It's an opinion,and everybody's entitled to their opinion. But to force it down on the House?"
The measure passed 12-7, with all Republicans voting for it and all Democrats voting against it. Its next stop is the House floor.