by WorldTribune Staff, March 20, 2018
Wake County in North Carolina has stopped offering a publicly-funded class at a local law enforcement training center in which participants could shoot an AR-15, a local news report said.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the North Carolina legislature proposed new gun laws during a press conference on March 19, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
The Democrats’ followed the lead of Gov. Roy Cooper, who in a social media post last week proposed raising the age for buying what are described as assault weapons to 21 and “require anyone buying them – at a store, online, or at a gun show – to go through the same background check and permitting process as they would for a handgun.”
According to the report, the Democrats also proposed implementing “a way for courts to use ‘extreme risk protection orders’ to temporarily remove guns from people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others.”
The Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center last offered the class in 2016 and canceled it because it wasn’t popular, not due to complaints from the public, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said according to a March 19 report by the News & Observer.
The issue of the firearms class which included the AR-15 was only raised recently by a resident “who asked Wake County commissioners about the course being listed on the website of the training center, which is located near Holly Springs and is publicly funded,” the News & Observer report said.
“Law enforcement use the center for training, but it’s also open to the public. Residents must complete a safety orientation course and can then pay hourly or longer-term fees to use the four shooting ranges, and they can also enroll in classes.”
A resident wrote in an email to commissioners: “What on Earth are my tax dollars doing to help the next mass shooter learn his craft? Why on Earth are you allowing this to continue? Please tell me this has been, or will be now, stopped. I was absolutely shocked to find that this was happening.”
Wake Country Commissioner Greg Ford said: “I am very pleased that the sheriff has decided to ensure the firearm center no longer offers that type of training for citizens. I see no reason why a taxpayer-funded center should provide opportunities to teach people how to shoot an AR-15. That is just common sense to me.”
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said other courses involving semi-automatic rifles could be offered in the future, the News & Observer report said.
No Republicans appeared with Democrats at the March 19 press conference. Republicans hold a supermajority in the North Carolina legislature.
F. Paul Valone, president of the gun-rights group Grassroots NC, called the Democrats’ proposal “an attempt to incrementally end the private ownership of firearms.”
“We are absolutely seeking Republican co-sponsors,” said Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, a Raleigh Democrat. The news conference “is the beginning of a real conversation,” he said, and a message that “we are interested in finding common-ground support.”