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The Follies


Guns, guns, everywhere a gun

Just when you thought the gun frenzy in the General Assembly could not get any more ridiculous, in steps tea partier Glen Bradley.

Bradley has introduced legislation that would exempt guns and ammunition made in North Carolina from all federal laws. That’s right, all federal laws.

The deadline for bill introductions is still a month away. That’s plenty of time for Bradley to get that secession legislation written and circulated for other lawmakers to sign.

Not to be outdone, Rep. Stephen LaRoque, the previous holder of the award for dumbest gun bill of the year, responded this week to criticism of his legislation that would allow legislators and other elected officials to take their guns anywhere they wanted in North Carolina.

That would include private businesses that ban guns and government buildings like the Legislative Building, where carrying them is currently illegal.

LaRoque told the Independent Weekly that he realizes that his proposal gives legislators special rights and that he would rather give everybody the right to take a gun anywhere they wanted but said that might not be “politically feasible.”

It’s hard to decide what is more troubling about that statement, the implication that LaRoque thinks giving only legislators an exemption from all state gun laws IS politically feasible or the fact that his preference would be to abolish all state gun laws and allow everybody to take their guns anywhere they want, schools, private businesses, public buildings, day care centers, etc.

The Independent also noted that House Speaker Pro Tem Dale Folwell signed on to LaRoque’s special gun rights for lawmakers bill, but that Folwell said he wasn’t all that familiar with the legislation and wasn’t sure that legislators should be treated any differently than anybody else.

As reassuring as that is, or not, what does it say that the second highest ranking member of the House signed on to an extreme gun bill without even knowing what it does?

Going backwards update

The Republicans effort to repeal the 20th century continues. This week Rep. Tim Moffitt filed legislation to overturn an annexation by the city of Asheville in 2007. The House has already passed bills to repeal annexations finished in 2008.

At this rate, no local government decision or local annexation is safe. Maybe the ultimate goal is to return North Carolina to the way it was when Republicans last controlled the House and Senate. That would be 1870, so keep those annexation repeals coming.

Good news is bad news for the Right

Here’s something you probably won’t hear from the public school dismantlers during this coming week’s House debate about creating a whole separate school system with their charter school legislation.

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction reports that the percentage of school dropouts reached record lows last year.

That must be awfully disappointing to the folks trying to end public education as we know it, that there is more evidence that the public schools they loathe continue to improve.

Cowardice in the eye of the beholder

Terry Stoops at the John Locke Foundation called the members of the State Board of Education cowards this week for not allowing public comment in the discussion about the ridiculous charter school bill and other education legislation before the General Assembly.

Stoops says the State Board was following its policy of not allowing the public to speak, but there is no such broad policy. There are opportunities for the public to be involved in the board’s policymaking process, just not chances to respond to every comment made by every board member.

If Stoops believes that denying public comment is a show of cowardice, he ought to be pretty disappointed in the new Republican majorities in the General Assembly. No one from the public was allowed to say a word before the House committee that debated HB 2, the misguided effort to exempt North Carolina from national health care reform.

Just last week, House Finance Committee Edgar Starnes refused to let a lobbyist for the N.C League of Municipalities speak about annexation reform and then of course, there’s the decision by Representative Julia Howard to invite only the right-wing Civitas Institute to make a presentation to lawmakers about Smart Start, a program the group admittedly wants to abolish.

Maybe next week they can ask Rush Limbaugh to make an unbiased presentation of the national health care reform law.