Under the Dome

Dome: Lawmaker considering bill arming teachers with Tasers

February 2, 2013 

One state legislator is interested in coming up with a bill that would allow trained teachers and administrators to use Tasers to thwart school violence, the news@norman website reports.

Rep. Jason Saine, a Republican from Lincolnton, made the remarks at a meeting of school and county officials last week, according to the website, which is the online presence of community newspapers in the Denver and Lake Norman areas.

Saine said he has asked the research and bill-drafting staffs to look into it and said he will be talking to the state Department of Public Instruction for its input.

“This bill could potentially allow for something reasonable that bridges the gap between leaving our schoolteachers and their students totally helpless in these situations versus full-on armed weaponry in a classroom,” Saine said.

Five gun bills were introduced in the first two days of the session, including two that didn’t survive last year’s session.

A bill filed Thursday by Rep. Phil Shepard, a Republican from Jacksonville, resurrects a bill that would allow employees to keep firearms and ammunition locked in their vehicles while at work. It attempts to provide some liability assurances to businesses, which last session objected to a similar bill on the grounds of safety and liability. Shepard’s proposal also would keep anyone except law enforcement from having access to the state database of concealed weapons permits.

On Wednesday, a bill was filed that seeks to allow those with permits to carry concealed handguns to bring them into restaurants that serve alcohol and bars that serve a certain amount of food. That bill also failed last session. One bill would create the position of trained marshals in schools, who would provide armed protection.

A second bill would also make records of concealed weapon permits no longer a public record. There are currently about 308,000 such permits in the state, according to the State Bureau of Investigation. A fifth bill would make concealed-carry permits issued in other states to non-residents invalid in North Carolina.

Vehicle purchase nixed

Headquarters has put the brakes on the state Alcohol Law Enforcement’s purchase of a fleet of brand new vehicles.

In between directors, the state Alcohol Law Enforcement put in a purchase order for 31 new vehicles. But ALE was supposed to wait, just like all other divisions in the state Department of Public Safety, for the routine replacement schedule based on mileage.

As a result, headquarters let ALE know that couldn’t happen; the order was canceled and the vehicles were never delivered.

The order was placed Jan. 4, three days after ALE Director John Ledford resigned from the position. The division was being run by interim director Mark Senter, who was a deputy director. New Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan has not yet named a replacement director.

GOP caucus rakes in dough

The state’s Senate Republican Caucus had quite a haul at a fundraiser last week.

The pre-session shindig, held at former ambassador Jim Cain’s home in Raleigh on Tuesday night, collected about $100,000, organizers say.

State law restricts financial contributions to legislators when the General Assembly is in session, so Tuesday night’s event came in just under the wire before the Wednesday session began.

McCrory loses staffer

Less than a month into his administration, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is watching the departure of a key staffer.

Chris Walker, the governor’s communications director, said Saturday he’s leaving to return to his family in Nashville. He blamed the decision on the inability to sell his house in Tennessee as well as the pending arrival in April of his second child.

"This is just an unfortunate logistical challenge," Walker said. "Thankfully, the governor was very understanding."

Walker said he’d remain in Raleigh while McCrory searches for a replacement. He intends to go back to consulting.

Staff writer Craig Jarvis

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