The N.C. Court of Appeals offered a mixed ruling today in a case challenging the state’s Felony Firearms Act, which limits ex-felons’ right to own guns. A judge had ruled the act unconstitutional last year in the Caswell County case of Richard Johnston, who had owned guns without incident from 1988 to 2004, when the Felony Firearms Act forced him to surrender his guns because of an earlier conviction stemming from a criminal act in the 1970s.

The Appeals Court reversed much of the trial-court ruling that the Felony Firearms Act violated Johnston’s constitutional “due process” rights. Appellate judges did send the case back to the trial court for more evidence. Judge Cheri Beasley, in one of her last opinions before heading to the N.C. Supreme Court, dissented from part of the majority opinion and would have thrown out more of Johnston’s arguments.

In other Appeals Court opinions released this morning:

  • A unanimous three-judge panel reversed a trial court decision this morning and ruled that a Pender County jailer is a public official immune from a lawsuit arising from an inmate’s 2006 suicide by hanging.
  • A three-judge panel unanimously affirmed a lower-court ruling favoring the N.C. Environmental Management Commission and Progress Energy in a dispute with Rockingham city and American Rivers over relicensing of Progress’ hydroelectic power plant at the Tillery Dam on the Yadkin-Pee-Dee River.
  • A three-judge panel unanimously affirmed a ruling of the N.C. Mining Commission to permit expansion of the Hayesville Quarry in Clay County, despite objections from neighbors.
  • A three-judge panel unanimously affirmed a trial-court ruling against Northwest in an ongoing dispute involving that city, Sandy Creek, and road damage linked to construction of a sewer system.
  • A panel split 2-1 in affirming a trial court order against the town of Cedar Point in a dispute with a homeowners association over ownership of a portion of a local street.