Wednesday News: Reckless abandon


LAW ENFORCEMENT REJECTS PERMITLESS CONCEALED-CARRY EFFORT: With the state House poised to debate legislation Wednesday ending the requirement that people obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon in North Carolina, law enforcement agencies around the state are lining up in opposition to the measure. House Bill 746 would allow any U.S. citizen 18 or over who legally owns a gun to carry it concealed without a permit anywhere he or she can carry it openly, except where prohibited. Concealed carry permits are issued through a county sheriff's office, which conducts a criminal background check and looks for records of mental illness or incapacity. Applicants must also be at least 21 years old and must show they have passed an eight-hour gun safety class. "They're getting some training. They're getting some knowledge of the law. But just to say, 'You're 18 years old, take a gun and go,' that bothers me," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Tuesday.

TRUMP'S EFFORTS TO SHIELD MICHAEL FLYNN FROM FBI PROBE BECOMING MORE CLEAR: The nation's top intelligence official told associates in March that President Donald Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials. As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey's handling of it, said officials familiar with the account Coats gave to associates. Two days earlier, Comey had confirmed in a congressional hearing that the bureau was probing whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 race.

NC BOE INVESTIGATING POSSIBLE RUSSIAN HACKING OF NC ELECTIONS SOFTWARE: North Carolina elections officials said Tuesday that they are "actively investigating" reports that Russian hackers attacked a U.S. voting software supplier days before last year's presidential election. The allegation came to light Monday after digital magazine The Intercept published a classified National Security Agency report that says Russian military intelligence attacked a U.S. voting software company and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November. The State Board of Elections identified the software company as VR Systems, which provides electronic poll book software to 21 counties to help check in voters who show up to cast ballots in person on Election Day.

ISIS ATTACKS IRANIAN PARLIAMENT AND KHOMEINI SHRINE: Gunmen and suicide bombers attacked parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on Wednesday, killing at least two security guards and wounding more than 30 people. The Islamic State group claimed both attacks. The attack on parliament, which was in session at the time, lasted more than three hours. Police surrounded the building and gunfire could be heard from outside. It marked the first time IS has claimed an attack in Iran. The Sunni extremist group is at war with Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Iraq, and views Iran's Shiite majority as apostates deserving of death.

COURT OF APPEALS TELLS ROBESON COUNTY TO ALLOW SOLAR FARM PERMIT: The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered Robeson County officials grant a zoning permit for construction of a solar farm near Pembroke. The order reverses a November 2015 decision by the Robeson County Board of Commissioners to deny a conditional use permit that FLS Energy Inc. and its subsidiary, Innovative 55 LLC, needed to build a solar farm on a 54-acre parcel on N.C. 710 just northwest of Pembroke. After the county commissioners voted 6-1 to deny the conditional use permit, FLS Energy sued. Superior Court Judge Greg Bell in March 2016 sided with the commissioners. That was wrong, said Court of Appeals Judge John Tyson in Tuesday’s ruling, and the commissioners had no solid basis to reject the permit request. “Opponents to the solar farm testified to unsupported and highly speculative claims about their unsubstantiated fears of solar farms and their possible dangers,” Tyson wrote.