Under the Dome

Dome: Gun resolution has some lawmakers questioning the facts

jfrank@newsobserver.comMarch 6, 2013 

An official statement affirming the N.C. House’s support of the Second Amendment won approval in a committee Tuesday but questions linger about the wording of the non-binding resolution.

The resolution, sponsored by freshman Michael Speciale, R-New Bern, says President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and members of Congress “have proposed ... actions that would have the effect of infringing on the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.”

In the debate, Democratic Rep. Marcus Brandon asked bluntly: “Do (resolutions) have to be factual?”

“Facts are facts,” Rep. Tim Moore, the Republican committee chairman responded, saying the N.C. General Assembly can find facts as it deems fit.

“There’s absolutely nothing factual in the bill,” Brandon said later, saying it’s all opinion.

One provision lists infringement as “registering guns, banning certain kinds of weapons and accessories, requiring extreme background checks and restricting concealed carry permits.” Some lawmakers questioned what “extreme” means. Speciale, a retired Marine who owns an AR-15 assault rifle, said asking private sales to involve a background check is extreme.

He also said any registration of guns should be banned. “Every infamous dictator in history has required that guns be registered so they know where to go get them when they are outlawed,” he said. “The government has no business knowing whether I have a gun.”

The resolution also cites two U.S. Supreme Court cases, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, to justify the individual right to keep and bear arms. Rep. Darren Jackson, a Raleigh Democrat, said the rulings are being misconstrued and in one instance upheld an assault rifle ban. “That’s not what the decisions convey,” he said.

The committee made a number of other fixes to the language of the bill before approving it by a 12-7 vote along party lines. If approved by the full House, as is expected, the resolution would be sent to the state’s congressional delegation.

Berger thinking about Hagan

Republican state Sen. Phil Berger is elaborating just a little more about his thought process on whether he will challenge Democrat Kay Hagan for her U.S. Senate seat in 2014. Berger, the president pro tem, told the National Journal that he’s “thought about it some.”

“I’ve been approached by a number of folks who’ve suggested that that’s something that I need to consider, or something that they would like for me to consider,” Berger told the Journal. If it doesn’t sound like much, it isn’t.

Berger visited Washington on Monday to speak at an event for the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee. Ray Martin, the political director for the state Senate GOP, told the National Journal that Berger didn’t meet with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a gatekeeper in the GOP nominee process.

Stripe really fuchsia

The “pink stripe” is the new buzz word in North Carolina politics. But we learned from Transportation Secretary Tony Tata that it’s not actually pink – it’s fuchsia.

The color is getting all sorts of attention because it will appear on the driver’s licenses issued to illegal immigrants under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Democrats are calling it a “scarlet letter” for immigrants.

McCrory reiterated this support for the stripe, saying “we have many different stripes for many different driver’s licenses.”

“I’m not even sure its pink,” McCrory said. “What color is the real color?”

Tata told him the color is actually fuchsia, a vivid reddish purple. To justify the stripe, the secretary said state law requires markings on the front for different types of licenses and it matches the color of federal documents these individuals received under the program.

Staff writer John Frank

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