Politics & Government

Gov. Easley signs 16 bills into law

N.C. Gov. Mike Easley has signed more than a dozen bills into law, including measures that increase penalties for racial intimidation and prevent some mentally ill patients from buying guns.

Easley said Saturday he had signed 16 additional bills that the legislature sent him before adjourning last month.

They include a measure stemming from last year's shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.

It denies weapons to people who have been involuntarily committed to mental health treatment. Court clerks will be required to put the names in a national database used in gun background checks.

Another bill raises the punishments for people who burn a cross or hang a noose to intimidate someone.