Once upon a time our current Democrat Attorney General, Roy Cooper, co-wrote a lengthy book on North Carolina firearm laws. That ponderous tome contains this little nugget:
“It is also a misdemeanor under North Carolina law for a person to transport or possess, off his or her own premises, a dangerous weapon in an area during a declared state of emergency, or in the vicinity of a riot. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-288.7 A concealed handgun permit does not allow a permittee to carry a weapon in these areas. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.11(c)”
While the ban on carrying a weapon during a declared state of emergency has been on the books of the State of North Carolina since the dark days of the late 1960's, Roy Cooper was a full supporter. He was a named defendant in Bateman v. Perdue, in which the state of emergency ban went down in flames.
Recently an unnamed staffer gutted an existing bill, HB469, which was originally an update to North Carolina's mechanic's lien statutes and replaced it with text much like the struck down emergency powers gun ban. The original bill had been voted on and passed by the NC House. After the change in wording the bill was submitted to the NC Senate Judiciary committee.
That would take someone in a unique position in order to pull something like that off.
Someone with enough legal education to re-write legislation. Someone on the staff of the Judiciary committee chair. Someone once picked by a Democrat Attorney General to pursue cases as he would. Someone with means, motive and opportunity.
Requests to State Senator Brunstetter to identify the staffer in question have gone unanswered. So Mark of a Free Man and I did a little digging and guess what we think?
We think that if there was a person, say a person on the staff of State Senator Peter Brunstetter...
And who was listed as counsel to the Judiciary Committe 1 chair...
...then we think someone from the press or the NC Legislature's ethics committee ought to have a chat with Lori A. Kroll, esq.
It's bad enough that the people we vote for and elect often stop listening to us. This is disappointing if not terribly surprising. Power corrupts after all.
Sometimes threats of action at the ballot box work. Sometimes they don't. And sometimes it goes beyond threat and we toss one of the perfumed princes out on their ear. Sucks to have to pay for your own booze doesn't it Bob Etheridge?
But more dangerous and insidious is when unelected Legislative or Congressional staffers think that rather than being mere servants they somehow get to make policy.
All please note the antics of the staffers of North Carolina State Senator Pete Brunstetter of the 31st district.
NC House Bill 489 was originally titled "Mechanics Lien and Bond Law Changes". It was passed by the NC House and referred to the Judiciary Committee. At some point staffers from Pete Brunstette's office stripped everything out of the bill and replaced it all with new language.
That new language was essentially identical to the language of the now-Unconstitutional State of Emergencies gun ban. In some particulars it was worse.
The plan appears to have been for this bill (which had already been voted on and approved by the NC House) to simply go to the NC Senate and be voted on thus reviving the stupid and illegal gun ban. Once signed by the Governor it would have to be adjudicated all over again.
Twenty years ago this would have passed unnoticed. Congresscriminal Charlie Rangel did something much like this with the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986. That amendment failed a voice vote, Rangel ignored a call for a recorded vote and the amendment (which bans all new fully automatic weapons in the U.S. except for military and police use) was stuffed into the bill anyway. The bill passed and the number of civilian-available full auto weapons became a fixed quantity. As a result an M-4 grease gun that cost $20 to make in 1944 now costs around $30,000. Fixed supply and unfixed demand cause prices to rise. Simple economics.
Today we have unprecedented access to information and we have watchdogs like Grass Roots North Carolina.
GRNC spied this skullduggery and alerted its members.
The resulting backlash caused the NC Senate to pull the bill from the calendar. Sadly they have not killed it dead.
A note to my State Senator, David Rouzer, was replied to with a form letter saying he would vote against the bill when it comes up.
Well, that's swell. Never mind that this bill is a travesty and should NEVER EVEN COME TO A VOTE.
The staffers responsible for this should be identified and publicly fired. The Legislature's Master-at-Arms should determine if criminal charges can be filed against them.
It's bad enough when duly elected officials pull these stunts. We can at least vote them out. For people that are not held to account by citizens to attempt this kind of seizure of authority is a disgrace.