Paranoid Rick Gunn prompts confiscation of reporter's recorder at open committee meeting

In the Senate today, the Sergeant-at-Arms confiscated the recorder of a reporter for WUNC radio during a Commerce Committee meeting. The confiscation was prompted by Rick Gunn:

"One other housekeeping (item), if I may. As a courtesy, all individuals with recording devices, whether audio or video, are required to be approved by the sergeant-at-arms," Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, said roughly 45 minutes into the two-hour meeting.

Gunn's statement - and the confiscation - run counter to NC's open meeting laws.

Gunn could not cite a building rule or law that would have justified his announcement.

"The sergeant-at-arms department just likes people to identify," he said.

Asked a followup question about how that might be a legal request, Gunn walked away, referring questions to the sergeant-at-arms.

However, during a committee meeting, the sergeant-at-arms staff work at the direction of the committee chairman.

Pressed a third time, with several more reporters watching, and asked specifically why he authorized a recorder to be confiscated, Gunn said, "I was simply, I thought – I think everyone should be open, and I certainly did not in any way intend cause that."

What prompted this whole affair? Well, it seems that your legislators have become paranoid.

"We have had situations where we thought the recording device was placed there at a time that was not a public meeting," King [Senate sergeant-at-arms] said, worried that the objective might be to catch a lawmaker in an off-the-cuff moment.

Rick, if you don't understand the meaning of "public servant" and understand the state's open meeting laws, I would suggest you go back full-time to your position in private business.