The Durham city council presented a nine-point agenda to Durham’s legislative delegation Monday, including a resolution supporting restrictions on buying handgun ammunition and an increase in vehicle-registration fees.
Council members also heard a gloomy assessment of the state’s financial condition.
“I'ts bad. There's no money available,” said Rep. Mickey Michaux (right). “What more do you want to hear?”
None of Durham’s requests involve state appropriations, but two would generate revenue: raising license fees for selling beer and wine, and raising the charge to register a car or truck to $15 from the present $10.
Registration fees would be earmarked for public transit.
“Our [Durham Area Transit Authority} system is drowining,” said council member Eugene Brown. “We need help.”
Raising the registration fee would bring an extra $750,000 annually for Durham’s public transit system. That would be enough to add a new city-bus route, said DATA manager Steve Mancuso.
Durham pays 80 percent DATA costs with public money channeled through city, state and federal governments. Passenger fares cover the other 20 percent, said deputy city manager Ted Voorhees.
About 15,000 people ride the buses each day.
Durham’s resolution on ammunition sales is a simplified version of the “Bullet Ownership Bill” promoted by Durham minister Melvin Whitley. It would modify existing state laws to restrict sale of handgun ammunition to citizens holding a state pistol purchase or concealed weapons permit.
Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez spoke in support of the resolution.
“i would support anything that any way is going to curtail our youth having access to firearms and having access to bullets,” Lopez said. Amending the law would also “help identify those who are out there buying them in some bulk,” he said.
Council member Eugene Brown, expressing what he said was “probably a minority” view, pointed out that federal law already makes it illegal for a felon to possess ammunition, and that neither the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence nor North Carolinians Against Gun Violence have ammunition-sales restrictions on their agendas.
“I doubt [the proposal] is going anywhere, in all candor,” Brown said.