There are several pro-gun bills that are active in the North Carolina General Assembly, and a few that have been recently introduced. With the deadline to introduce bills in the House passing on Wednesday, April 6, here are the House bills we can expect to work on, or continue to work on, during this year’s session.
House Bill 63: This is a Parking Lot/Employee Protection Bill that was introduced by state Representatives Phil Shepard (R-15), Mark Hilton (R-96), George Cleveland (R-14) and Jeff Barnhart (R-82). It would establish that businesses cannot prohibit law-abiding citizens from parking a car on a private parking lot simply because firearms are secured in the vehicle. H 63 has been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee A.
House Bill 74: This Castle Doctrine Bill was introduced by state Representatives Hilton, Shirley Randleman (R-94), Cleveland and Rayne Brown (R-81). This legislation would strengthen the right to self-defense within the home, as well as expand protections to include self-defense in cars, at the workplace, and establish that there is no duty to retreat when faced with a criminal attack when you are in a place you may lawfully be. It also offers protections against criminal prosecution and civil action when one is compelled to use force (including lethal force) against a criminal attack. Should a defendant be found to be immune under this law from a civil action that did take place, this bill would establish that reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant shall be awarded. H 74 has been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee A.
House Bill 111: This Right-to-Carry reform bill was introduced by state Representatives Hilton, Barnhart, Fred Steen (R-76) and Kelly Hastings (R-110). This legislation would remove the prohibition on permit holders from carrying firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol. As introduced, it would have also completely removed the ability of local governments to prohibit the lawful carrying of firearms by permit holders into parks. Finally, it clarifies that permit holders may carry firearms for personal protection within the state parks system. While H 111 did pass in the House, before it did, state Representative David Guice (R-113) introduced an amendment that would allow local governments to prohibit permit holders from carrying firearms onto certain “recreational facilities,” which are defined as playgrounds, athletic fields, swimming pools, and athletic facilities. This amendment was adopted by a 70 to 48 vote, but the NRA will work to remove this emotionally-based, anti-gun amendment from H 111 when it is taken up in the state Senate. H 111 has been assigned to the Senate Rules Committee, where it will likely be assigned to another committee.
House Bill 227: This Firearms Purchase Bill was introduced by state Representatives Mark Hollo (R-88), Mitch Gillespie (R-85), Hilton and Bert Jones (Unafilliated-65). This legislation would allow residents of North Carolina to purchase long guns in non-contiguous states. This would bring North Carolina in line with the protections provided by the federal Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, that allows the interstate sale of long guns by federally licensed firearms dealers. H 227 has been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee A.
House Bill 390: This Pistol and Crossbow Bill was introduced by state Representatives Michael Wray (D-27) and Hilton. This legislation would repeal the requirement that a law-abiding citizen receive permission from his or her local sheriff before purchasing a handgun or a crossbow. Currently, law-abiding citizens must acquire a permit to purchase a pistol or crossbow from their local sheriff before they may lawfully acquire such items. One “standard” for denying a permit a permit would be if someone fails to prove they are of “good moral character.” What defines “good moral character” is not spelled out under the law, so a sheriff in one county may reject a permit applicant for something he considers to be not of “good moral character,” while a sheriff in another county may not come to the same conclusion. Uniformity in the exercise of constitutionally protected rights is critical to ensuring rights are not randomly and arbitrarily restricted. Furthermore, the reasons for denying rights must be carefully detailed, and of a serious enough nature to warrant such action. H 390 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
House Bill 650: This Omnibus Gun Bill was introduced by state Representatives Hilton, Stephen LaRoque (R-10), Cleveland and Hastings. This legislation would make a number of changes to existing gun laws. Many of the changes are technical or remove redundancies. For example, the law currently states a Right-to-Carry Permit application may be denied by a sheriff if the applicant is prohibited under state or federal law from possessing a firearm. The law then lists a number of specific disqualifications, even though they are already covered under the state and federal law possession prohibition. Unfortunately, the anti-gun media has already posted misleading information on the bill. The News & Observer posts online that the bill “would lift the requirement that county sheriffs deny concealed handgun permits to those…who have been indicted, convicted of a felony, are fugitives or are drug users.” Since individuals who fall under these categories are prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law, sheriffs will still deny such applicants. This bill does make improvements to the Right-to-Carry permit system, as well as to the state firearms preemption law, which restricts local governments from imposing gun control laws that are stricter than the state sets. H 650 has been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee A. The bill is currently on the calendar to be heard on Wednesday, April 13, at 10:00 AM in Room 415 of the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh. Please contact members of that subcommittee and urge them to support H 650. You can find a list of subcommittee members by clicking here. For contact information, just click on the name of the Representative you wish to contact.
House Bill 798: This “Fraudulent Firearms Purchase Prevention Act” was introduced by state Representative Hilton. This legislation would protect lawful firearm retailers from illegal gun sting operations such as those orchestrated by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has sent hired agents into other states to attempt illegal firearm purchases in an effort to blame federally licensed firearm retailers for gun crime in New York City and around the country. H 798 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Finally, House Bill 29, introduced by Representative Tim Moore (R-111), passed in the Senate and was signed into law. This law authorizes a hunter to use a portable light and a dog on a leash to help in the retrieval of a dead or wounded big game animal. It also provides for permissible means to dispatch a wounded animal. The vote in the Senate was 50 to 0, and Governor Perdue signed the bill into law on March 31.
Please continue to check your e-mail and www.NRAILA.org for updates on all of these bills.