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Legislative Update for North Carolina

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The North Carolina General Assembly hit its Crossover Deadline on Thursday, May 14, after a flurry of legislative activity.  This deadline basically means that any bill that had not passed one chamber (either the House or Senate) by Thursday is likely dead for this session.  Many pro-gun reforms failed to meet the deadline, but several did pass. 

Senate Bill 928, introduced by Senator Doug Berger (D-7), codifies the Castle Doctrine in the home, as well as establishes civil immunity for those who use lethal force to defend themselves or their loved ones while in their home.  In other words, if a law-abiding citizen uses a firearm against a violent, criminal attacker who has illegally entered the citizen’s home, the citizen cannot be charged with a criminal offense, and will not face any civil penalties.  S 928 passed third reading in the Senate on Thursday, so even if it does not pass the House this year, it will still be viable next year. 

Senate Bill 11, introduced by Senator Julia Boseman (D-9), would allow district attorneys and assistant district attorneys to carry concealed firearms into a courthouse, except into the courtroom itself, if they hold a valid Right-to-Carry permit and are in the courthouse to execute their official duties.  S 11 passed third reading in the Senate on Wednesday.  House Bill 473, introduced by Representative Pat Hurley (R-70), would allow magistrates with a valid Right-to-Carry permit to carry a firearm into a courthouse in the same manor that judges may now do.  H 473 passed third reading in the House earlier this year. 

Finally, House Bill 1132, introduced by Representative Mark Hilton (R-96), states that, if a Right-to-Carry permit holder applies for a renewal of his or her permit within 30 days of the expiration of the permit, the permit will be valid until the renewal is officially approved or denied.  This will help ensure that the permittee will not lose his or her ability to lawfully carry a firearm for personal protection if the renewal is not approved before the official expiration date on the permit.  H 1132 passed third reading on Thursday.

Unfortunately, as previously stated, many pro-gun bills failed to make the Crossover Deadline.  Included among those that failed this session are:

House Bill 257: This bill, sponsored by Representatives George Cleveland (R-14), Tim Moore (R-111), Mark Hilton (R-96), and Laura Wiley (R-61), sought to prohibit the seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms or ammunition during a declared state of emergency.  H 257 was sent to the House Judiciary III Committee, but was never given a hearing.

House Bill 269: This bill, sponsored by Representatives Mark Hilton (R-96), Justin Burr (R-67), George Cleveland (R-14), and Jim Gulley (R-103), sought to remove restrictions on carrying concealed firearms in parks by Right-to-Carry permit holders.  H 269 was sent to the House Judiciary III Committee, and while it was scheduled for a hearing, it was removed to fix a drafting error, then never again scheduled to be heard.

House Bill 270: This bill, sponsored by Representatives Mark Hilton (R-96), Fred Steen (R-76), Justin Burr (R-67), and George Cleveland (R-14), sought to remove restrictions on carrying concealed firearms in restaurants licensed to serve alcohol by Right-to-Carry permit holders.  H 270 was sent to the House Judiciary III Committee, had a hearing, then was referred to a subcommittee for further consideration.  That subcommittee was chaired by anti-gun Representative Mickey Michaux (D-31), who never brought it back up for consideration.

House Bill 892/Senate Bill 782: These bills sought to eliminate the requirement that law-abiding citizens receive a permit to transfer a handgun from their sheriff before acquiring a handgun.  H 892 was referred to the House Judiciary II Committee, where it was never heard.  S 782 was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee, but was pulled from consideration at the last minute after the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association raised objections to the bill.

Senate Bill 329: This bill, sponsored by Senator David Hoyle (D-43), sought to establish that the Right to Hunt is a recognized, constitutionally protected right.  S 329 was sent to the Senate Ways & Means Committee, but was never scheduled for a hearing.

With the passage of the Crossover Deadline, the few anti-gun bills that were introduced also lose viability, which is good news.  Of course, there are always procedural maneuvers available to legislators determined to pass something, so we will continue to keep a close watch on activities in Raleigh to ensure no anti-gun measures are resurrected.  We will also look into ways we may be able to resurrect pro-gun reforms, as well as promote the legislation that made the Crossover Deadline.

 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.