Loading...
Judging by the number of folks charged with driving under influence I am guessing the penalty is rather light. Of...

State bill misfires on safety, takes aim at gun owners

Loading…

Monday, February 18, 2019

Under the guise of preventing mass shootings, North Carolina lawmakers tried to chip away at the Second Amendment this week.

State Rep. Christy Clark, D-Mecklenburg, called a Thursday press conference at the General Assembly to introduce the Gun Violence Prevention Act, a grab bag of restriction that range from the ineffectual to the unconstitutional.

Among other provisions, the bill would require all gun owners to purchase firearm liability insurance, ban the sale or possession of bump stocks and trigger cranks, raise the age to purchase so-called assault weapons from 18 to 21 and require permits for the purchase of long guns in addition to handguns.

Insurers could pay damages to victims of accidental shootings and may also pay legal costs for insured gun owners who fire a weapon in presumed self-defense and face criminal prosecution or lawsuits. Some gun owners choose to buy insurance for their own peace of mind, and the National Rifle Association partners with an insurer to sell NRA-branded policies.

Proponents compare firearm insurance to car insurance. But operating a motor vehicle on public roads is considered a privilege, while keeping and bearing arms is a constitutional right. Government can and already does impose more restrictions on driving than owning a gun.

Also known as House Bill 86, the Gun Violence Prevention Act would mandate a minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage. Premiums are far cheaper than those for car insurance, but they would disproportionately pinch low-income gun owners who may live in crime-prone neighborhoods and have the greatest need to own a firearm for home defense.

There’s also the quandary of risk compensation — just as studies show seat belts and anti-lock brakes make the average driver more aggressive, gun owners might feel their trigger fingers grow itchier if they believe insurance will lessen the consequences of an accidental or wrongful shooting. Requiring every gun owner to be insured may actually increase danger.

As for banning bump stocks, the Trump administration already issued a federal regulation that makes them illegal beginning next month. Several states have passed redundant laws. Apart from outlawing the sale of new devices, making them illegal to possess is problematic. Few owners have voluntarily turned in their bump stocks. Will federal agents ferret out the accessories and confiscate them by force?

Courts have deemed pistol purchase permit requirements to be lawful. It remains to be seen whether imposing similar restrictions on the sale of ordinary hunting rifles would survive Second Amendment scrutiny. As with handguns, criminals who want long guns will simply steal them or buy them on the black market.

Clark is a freshman legislator who previously served as state director for the gun control group Moms Demand Action. Joining her as primary sponsors are Reps. Marcia Morey of Durham County, Pricey Harrison of Guilford County and Shelly Willingham of Edgecombe County.

On its filing date, the bill had a total of 12 sponsors, all Democrats. The presence of House Democratic whip Deb Butler’s name on the legislation could signal it has party leaders’ backing.

Many North Carolinians — and indeed, most gun owners — are sympathetic to reasonable reforms such as enhanced background checks, but this bill is no common-sense compromise. The insurance requirement is a gargantuan government power grab that misfires on curbing gun violence and instead takes aim at law-abiding Tar Heels.

Fortunately, its chances in the Republican-controlled General Assembly are nil. That should give little comfort to the many Democrats who own guns for hunting and home protection and would rightly bristle at an insurance mandate.

The House Democratic Caucus and N.C. Democratic Party must abandon this paternalistic push. Claiming to represent the disadvantaged can’t be reconciled with a bill that would make poor people pay a premium in order to lawfully own a gun. Don’t they deserve to feed their families through hunting and keep handguns to defend those families from intruders?

As the sad legacy of poll taxes taught us, putting a price tag on the exercise of a constitutional right is always wrong.

The Wilson Times

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

April 20, 2019

There are some, who after winning election to the General Assembly and crossing the threshold of the Legislative Building in Raleigh believe they’ve been transformed.

They acquire knowledge and insight beyond that of the hoi polloi.

That must be the only reason for the continued to raft of…

StateLegislature

April 16, 2019

The announcement that Kirstjen Nielsen was stepping down as Secretary of Homeland Security was sudden, but it wasn’t really a surprise. Never a favorite of President Trump, her days became numbered when her patron in the administration, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, resigned in December.…

Homeland Security Secretary-1

April 15, 2019

The day before his indictment was announced last week, Robin Hayes said he was stepping down as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party because of health issues. The next day, the public learned that what was driving Hayes from office wasn’t only his ailments, but the ill health of…

Republican Chairman

April 13, 2019

You know the game by now: A call comes into your mobile phone. A number pops up on your screen. You don’t recognize it. Your first instinct is to decline it, but what if it’s your child’s school? The auto repair guy? Something else? It’s a guessing game, and we’re the…

Kicking Robocalls-2

April 09, 2019

Walter Ginter began using heroin in the early 1970s while serving in the Army. By 1977, desperate to kick the habit, he turned to daily doses of methadone, a synthetic opioid that eases withdrawal and decreases cravings. The treatment worked.

“I have a good life today,” says Ginter, 69,…

Opioid Lawsuit New York

April 08, 2019

One of the first things we teach our children is to never, ever get into a stranger’s car.

In the age of Uber and Lyft, we all need to relearn that lesson. Along with: The later you’re out at night, the greater your chances of running into the wrong person. And: It’s always safer…

Uber Traffic Analysis

April 07, 2019

If you care about safe water for all, you should be celebrating the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to order Duke Energy to excavate coal ash from its power plant sites in the state. It was the right call for communities that for too long have been vulnerable to…

Duke Energy Coal Ash

April 07, 2019

As many of your readers are aware, State Treasurer Dale Folwell has chosen to forge ahead with his proposal to significantly alter the reimbursement strategy for health care providers who offer care under the State Health Plan. Citing concerns with the State Health Plan’s insolvency,…

April 06, 2019

Belatedly, it occurred to the Trump administration that closing the U.S.-Mexico border, as the president threatened, posed the risk of paralyzing manufacturing assembly lines, leaving grocery shelves bare and throwing the U.S. economy into a tailspin, if not outright recession. Bad idea.

So now the…

Trump Immigration

April 02, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court heard a lot last week about what is wrong with the way North Carolina’s congressional districts are laid out. There were no questions about the bad or the good.

The job of the nine justices isn’t about that — only what is or isn’t constitutional. It…

Supreme Court Redistricting-1
75 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 8
        Next Page»   Last Page»