Rewrite of North Carolina criminal gang laws heads to Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The General Assembly has agreed to change North Carolina’s current criminal gang laws because police and prosecutors say they’re difficult to enforce.

The House agreed overwhelmingly Wednesday to accept changes to its legislation made by the Senate. The bill now heading to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk would replace specific crimes punishing illegal gang activity with more severe punishments for crimes when it’s determined in court they were committed as part of such activity.

The Senate added language designed to make it easier to shut down businesses and other locales where gang activity is occurring by having it declared in court as a public nuisance.