@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Senators add gun background checks, economic development language back to corrections bill

Posted July 30, 2014 11:40 a.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2014 12:07 p.m. EDT

@NCCapitol

— Clerks of court will have to at least try to report certain information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, under a technical corrections bill the Senate sent back to the House on Wednesday morning. 

The sprawling measure is nearly the same as when it rolled out of committee Tuesday, but senators made two key changes. 

As originally drafted, the measure would have deleted a requirement that had been part of the 2013 omnibus gun law. That measure, which generally granted firearms owners broader rights, also required more stringent background checks. Among those requirements was that clerks of court report to NICS any relevant information that came to their office. Clerks said that requirement was too broad and would sweep up a lot of unwanted information.

"I do not think repeal is the appropriate way to go," said Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, who was the lead author of the 2013 firearms measure.

Newton expressed frustration with the Administrative Office of the Courts for not highlighting potential problems earlier. Instead of exempting clerks from the requirement, he put forward an amendment that would delay the new rules until Jan. 1, 2015. Keeping the requirement, he said, would push the courts to come up with a solution to the problems they identified.  

Another amendment, put forward by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus, sketches out what the Commerce Department must reveal after a company explores the possibility of drawing down incentives from the state. The measure modifies the language governing the North Carolina Economic Partnership, a private nonprofit that handles much of the state's job-recruiting functions.

The Hartsell amendment doesn't change how those disclosures would function, but it makes them somewhat easier to read. The existing law already limited what the state would have to disclose if a company asks for incentives but chooses to relocate or expand elsewhere. 

The bill now goes back to the House, which will choose to either agree to the Senate changes or send the measure to a conference committee.