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Amendment seeks to expand gun rights
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Amendment seeks to expand gun rights




It’s an amendment inspired by the Second Amendment.

State lawmakers want to expand concealed-carry rights and cement their support for lawful gun ownership in the North Carolina Constitution. Rep. Jeff Collins is a co-sponsor of House Bill 246, which would place the Gun Rights Amendment on the November 2014 general election ballot.

"I get multiple emails every day on Second Amendment rights from people who are very concerned that someone in government — usually the federal government — is trying to take those rights away,” said Collins, a Rocky Mount Republican. "It’s probably the most-addressed issue that I hear from constituents.”

The National Rifle Association and other influential groups have bristled at gun control regulations President Barack Obama is pushing, including bans on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines and expanded federal background checks.

Some fear those regulations are a precursor to outright bans on gun ownership, which the president and gun control proponents deny. The amendment seeks to block such a sweeping government gun grab.

"In accordance with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and this section, the state shall never engage in a general confiscation of the weapons of its citizens and shall never cooperate in the effort of any other entity to do so,” the proposed amendment reads.

The Gun Rights Amendment also would prevent North Carolina cities and towns from increasing concealed-carry restrictions. It would allow concealed handgun permit-holders to carry concealed in most public places, except courthouses, federal buildings, school campuses and state governmental buildings.

"It’s silly, these laws that tell you that you can’t carry here, you can’t carry there,” said Rep. Michael Speciale, a New Bern Republican and one of four primary sponsors. "The only ones who pay attention to the law are the law-abiding citizens. A lot of the laws just lack common sense.”

Gun rights advocates say concealed handgun owners can prevent crimes and defend themselves and others, and the laws that stop them from carrying guns only embolden criminals who know their victims will be unarmed.

Former Texas state lawmaker Suzanna Hupp called for increased concealed-carry rights after her parents were shot and killed in a restaurant in 1991. Hupp had a concealed handgun permit and believes she could have protected her parents if she hadn’t left the gun in her car to comply with state law.

Property owners would still be able to ban concealed weapons at their businesses and homes under the North Carolina amendment.

Collins, who is a concealed handgun permit-holder himself, said the Second Amendment was intended as a safeguard against government abuses.

"I think their main reason for putting gun ownership in the Constitution as a right was in case their own government turns tyrannical, they’ll have something to stand up against it with,” he said. "I think it’s as important now as it’s ever been in our history.”

Rep. Larry G. Pittman, a Concord Republican, drafted the amendment and is a primary sponsor along with Republican colleagues Speciale, Rep. Carl Ford of China Grove and Rep. Jon Hardister of Greensboro.

Like Collins, Speciale said gun rights is the No. 1 issue prompting feedback from constituents.

"I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of emails,” he said. "We get them from all over the state. If people are supportive of it, they need to send some emails up here to let the other representatives know they need to support it. Believe it or not, what you guys write in your emails does matter. It has an effect on all of us. We do listen.”

A two-thirds majority of both the state House and Senate is required to pass a constitutional amendment. If the bill becomes law, voters will have the final say in 2014.

Leaders in the Republican-controlled General Assembly are supportive of expanded gun rights, but Speciale said it’s "hard to say” whether the amendment will pass muster. He said backers are watching another gun bill, House Resolution 63, to see how it fares.

The resolution would notify North Carolina’s congressional delegation that the state House supports Second Amendment rights and opposes gun control. Speciale is primary sponsor of that legislation, and Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, has signed on as a co-sponsor.

"That will probably be the first one to hit the floor as far as the gun bills, and it’s pretty tame,” Speciale said. "It will be a good gauge.”

Lawmakers introduced the Gun Rights Amendment on March 6, and leaders referred it to the House Rules Committee for hearings.

corey@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821
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@Rutt Ro said...

I agree. I got a feeling Wildtorn doesn't have a concealed carry permit. He couldn't possible complete the paperwork, and with his attitude, I expect negative responses from background sources would have stopped him. If he carrys, it's without a permit. Scary thought as to how many like him are in Wilson Co.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 4:27 PM
@God's house said...

There have been church shootings so the precedence is out there; not sure what you are even trying to say?? It has nothing to do with being macho. You think all police officers carry guns because they want to be macho??? It is not paranoia but insurance and safety. Do you have insurance on your church? If not, you are being irresponsible with God's money. But why insurance? It doesn't bring you closer to God does it?? You do it because it is good common sense and good financial stewards. How much more important is a human life? Tons. You should also do background checks on your staff and especially those involved with teaching children. Is that paranoia too? No, just using your brain and caring for others as Christ commands. And my comment was about the larger churches in town not small churches where this does not apply. I think you are living in a very naive world.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Rutt Ro said...

I don't see how Wildtorn even filled out the conceal carry paperwork properly or even the paperwork to get a gun permit. Red flags go up for anyone?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Toall the cridics said...

Thenk you More" . And allr of the cridics can berry me upside down acording t o Bobby Night.

Monday, March 18, 2013 at 10:01 PM
More said...

More words of wisdom from Wildtorn and the gun lobby. I guess it makes sense to the far right gun nuts.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 7:54 PM
@wildtorn said...

So this is the argument for expanded 2nd Amendment rights. I have to admit, people like this make me feel like I need to go buy a gun.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 5:27 PM @ Wildtorn said...

I rest my case. This is what I'm talking about. Whoever you are, you remind us all that guns have been made too easy to obtain. Drones??? I think an alien spaceship must have dropped you off and forgot to pick you back up.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM @@@Gods' House said...

If it makes you feel more mach, you just keep packin' your heat when you go to church. If you are that paranoid, you probably need it. Can't see how that takes you any closer to God. Unlike you, I don't see a potential madman or terrorist behind every tree. That's paranoia. I'll just take my Bible when I go to worship the Lord.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM wildtorn said...

This hole thing is stupid. I don't care id you on a gun or not. I gont care if you care a gun conceel or out or not. I got mine and thats all i car about. No body is thinking about drones. they are hear and they are invading us. The Goverment knosw how many guns you all have. by the drones. i dont care about wayne lapair or none of The hole bill of rights is gone aalready.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 12:01 AM Spokesperson said...

I guess the far right gun lobby has a new spokesperson named Wildtorn. Although their online rants are sometimes incoherent, Wildtorn seems to speak for all who wish for unlimited gun owners' rights, and that is sad, indeed.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 10:43 PM @@God's House said...

"I'm glad my church nor my minister has chosen the route you mention." So you don't respect the safety of your congregation? Think you are the one in the dark. God didn't say 'check your brain at the door'.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 9:34 PM @@God's House said...

What does sacred have to do with security??? Bet if you were a victim of violence you'd be singing a different hymn.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 9:28 PM @God's House said...

I'm glad my church nor my minister has chosen the route you mention. Some things should be sacred.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 9:17 PM New Spokesperson said...

This is so good. The gun nuts have a new spokesperson - Wildtorn - to speak for them all. Sound like a typical gun owner who takes his rights too far. He says he has guns, and that's scary. He's the type person we should want to keep guns away from.

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 6:55 PM license to kill, no license to love? said...

Yes, there is something about the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness in the Constitution. The Republican party is all about gun ownership rights to make sure we can harm or kill others whenever, whereever, there's a need. But when we simply want to make a commitment to the one we love, suddenly the GOP thinks everyone in the country will be harmed and society will dissolve by two people of the gender. The GOP is very good at whipping up irrational fear. It's why I can't buy anything that comes out of the GOP...they're the party of confused and emotionally warped people.

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:55 AM @2 2 things said...

So the 2nd Amendment is supposed to protect us against our govt? Thanks for proving my argument. Do you think your guns will hold off the US Army if it wants to get you? No, it won't. The 2nd Amendment was written in post-revolutionary America to provide a standing militia. Unless citizens today are capable of possessing armored tanks, bomber jets, drones and nuclear subs, that argument just doesn't hold one drop of water.
Hey, I'm all for Americans owning guns but I'm more for people being able to understand the situation properly. Hopefully I've helped you do that.

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:54 AM God's house said...

You might be surprised to know that many of our larger churches in Wilson do have Security Teams and there are people in church with Security Training and concealed weapons. Many church shootings have been in the news and all churches should at least be aware of basic security.

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM @nomoreguns said...

But guns are already in society. Unless the government magically gets rid of the millions of guns already in circulation, your point is moot at best. So your point really is useless conversation. We have guns in the US. Now...what can we do about to curve the violence and criminals using guns illegally? People with the concealed weapon permit are generally the most informed citizens out there (apart from law enforcement) and have a VERY detailed background check through the SBI system and fingerprinted. There are no statistics showing those with concealed weapon permits commit gun crimes; it simply is irrelevant banter that you can't prove and while you are writing about it several gun crimes have happened by those not following laws. That's the issue. Solve it!!

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 8:50 AM 2 2 things said...

So you are a consitutional scholar?
If the 2nd amendment was written so long ago it is no longer pertinent today, why don't we just trample on the Bill of Rights as well. I mean, is Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness really that important 250 years later? Probably not if it means keeping one person happy and upsetting 250 millions others.
The 2nd amendment is also to protect us against the government.
The NRA may have lost its focus but that does not make our rights any less valuable.
As pointed out below, more people were slaughtered before firearms were invented than have been killed by ANY type of firearm.
Should be ban knives also?
And why does it matter where you can take a gun?
How can it be ok to protect yourself on one piece of earth, but not 10 feet away?
That makes less sense than most gun control arguments.
If a private owner doesn't want a firearm on their property, that is fine.
But if I am a law abiding, permit holding citizen, what are the odds of my shooting up a government office, bar, or school, instead of a grocery store, mall or any other place I am allowed to carry a weapon.
It has nothing to do with why I would carry it there, or the fact that you think there is no reason to carry it there.
I loved the logic in congress, lower magazine capacity so we can stop the shooter when he reloads. In that whole 3 seconds it takes to reload.
That logic is as dumb as most logic on this board.
If ANYONE had been armed in that school, most of those poor kids would have had the chance to be alive today.
You can say all you want that he shouldnt have had the weapons, BUT HE DID.
And the only thing what was going to stop him was another weapon.
Now prove that wrong.


Friday, March 15, 2013 at 7:10 AM God's peace b with u said...

Gonna lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside, down by the riverside, down by the riverside; Gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside, down by the riverside. I ain't gonna study war no more, ain't gonna grieve my Lord no more...ain't gonna study war no more, no more....sing it with me, folks . . .I ain't gonna study war no more, ain't gonna grieve my Lord no more, ain't gonna grieve my Lord no more.
(In memory of my WWII veteran dad, who taught this song to me when I was a toddler. He hated war and guns and believed in dignity and equality for all...thank-you, dad).

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 12:32 AM @ wildtorn said...

Great post!!!!!!!!!!!! The 1st thing the Germans did was to take over the gun control and we al know what happened next.

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 11:48 PM 2 things said...

While I am for the right to bear arms, there's a couple of things the pro-gun segment seems to be ignoring or unaware of. First off, the 2nd Amendment as it was written, has little bearing on rights of citizens to bear arms today. The idea that an armed citizenry means an organized militia and, thus, strong national defense is, well, pretty much an 18th century notion. Whatever weapons citizens can legally buy now wouldn't do much against a real army.
Secondly, the NRA really doesn't represent gun owners as much as it represents gun manufacturers. That wasn't the case just 20 years ago but follow the money since then and tell I'm wrong. The NRA is protecting its inner circle's right to profit from arms sales, not the rights of hunters.
Now carry on...

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 10:50 PM to @@One Flew said...

Well said! I agree..I'm sick & tired of the bully NRA and all its followers.

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:29 PM wildtorn said...

on guns I have a right to cary one. Do I have a right to have one. Yes Can you see it? NO Can you hol it? NO What do you men second amendment days? NO Do guns protact our rights? YES D id the fountain fathers own guns? YES They won the revalution. Did the army have guns when the beat eh German? YES DID he cowboys and idins have guns?? YES Did the Romons had guns?NO an look what happens. DID the Azteks have guns? NO an look at that.

Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:03 PM @@One Flew said...

And I'm sure you are one of those who feel macho when you carry yours into God's house - church (if you go), into restaurants, to little league games and to PTA meetings at schools. Makes you feel big and in charge, I guess. LOL.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM NoMoreGuns said...

Everyone knows that if we do away with the guns there will be less shootings. Why can't these people see that? They are still living back in second amendment days. They need to join the 21st century.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 6:43 PM Me too... said...

I totally agree with twindad!

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 6:21 PM why the name calling? said...

For anyone who uses the term 'gun nuts' you are a very misinformed person and being somewhat immature at best. We are Americans and some of us fought for the rights we have. Besides, when is the last time someone with a NC concealed weapon permit used a gun in criminal violence?? Anyone??? When was the last time a criminal used a gun in violence? Many times while you were reading this post. Use some common sense folks. Quote statistics on where gun controls have helped keep guns out of criminal hands. Anyone????? It is an Amendment right to own guns. Just because you don't like it really has no bearing on it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 3:06 PM @OneFlew said...

You provide yet another example of someone who does NOT know the law. The current CC law does NOT prevent one from carrying in a church or restaraunt (unles alcohol is served). You gun control types might get a little farther if you actually knew something about the law, rather than spouting left wing talking points.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 2:56 PM @Please said...

People who carry everyday are not afraid, just prepared.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 2:54 PM Curious said...

"The Gun Rights Amendment also would prevent North Carolina cities and towns from increasing concealed-carry restrictions. It would allow concealed handgun permit-holders to carry concealed in most public places, except courthouses, federal buildings, school campuses and state governmental buildings." Why limit guns in the latter mentioned places? Why not push for absolute concealed carry freedom EVERYWHERE, since it appears to be such a good idea? Ironic that those making the laws would remove most of their locations from the list.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 1:30 PM Curious said...

How about adding a method for those who lost the right to bear arms to have them restored by a judge after twenty years if they are not violent? There are a number of people for whom this right was stripped without process in 2004 that want a method to recover them. All that is being asked for is a process to allow them to stand before a judge and present a case for restoration. The Second Amendment was written for all citizens and there is nothing in the Constitution that allows for lifetime bans without review.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 12:44 PM Wild west said...

Oh yes, I think the cowboys should expand the bill to allow guns in schools, courtrooms, police stations, etc. And, just think, if you don't like an umpire's call or the minister's sermon, let your emotions fly (because we humans run on emotions far more than our rational minds - even the "law-abiding" humans". Oh yes, be sure to play nice on the kiddie soccer field...some of those parents get fired up.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 11:06 AM twindad said...

My name is Matt Dillon, and I want to publicly express my support for this bill. I personally cannot wait for the United States of America to return to the days of the wild, wild west. Shoot 'em up. Fastest draw wins. By the way, I love the smell of "gunsmoke"!

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM Gun owner said...

Finally a voice of reason.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 9:06 AM Please said...

If this proposed amendment will confort gun nuts who are AFRAID someone will come to take their guns away, by all means get it passed and into law before the cry-babies wet themselves.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 8:56 AM Finally said...

One of the biggest items concerned by the public at the moment and finally a "representative" does something about it and listens. I think Obama would get a much bigger push if only he could quote statistics on how gun controls will take guns out of criminals hands. Isn't that the objective? The problem is he has not and not all the facts surrounding Connecticut will be fully investigated until sometime this summer yet we rush as we always do to make "political in the news statements which did what? Panic, misunderstandings on all sides, "he said" "she said", massive gun sales, hording of ammo, sky high prices for both and more gun thefts than ever before. As one Wilson Police officer said to me "if they keep going the only people with guns will be criminals and law enforcement". I agree and statements about "gun controls" has actually hurt the cause not helped it. Why the public wants to penalize the "good" people I have no idea.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 8:35 AM One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest said...

What insanity. And this from the same guy, Collins, who wants to make public all teacher evaluations yet suppress from the public lists of those having concealed weapons permits. This "amendment" would allow concealed weapons to be carried into churches, restaurants and stadiums, just to name a few places where weapons would not be banned by this proposal. But really, I don't understand why they should not be allowed in government buildings, on school campuses and in courthouses. After all, as so many gun nuts claim, aren't all those who have concealed weapon permits responsible people. So, why shouldn't they be allowed to take their guns into court rooms. You would think that with all the problems facing NC at this time, legislators would spend their time on more important things.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 8:08 AM JHW said...

It's about time!

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM
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