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Omnibus Firearm Bill in North Carolina Still a Strong Pro-Gun Bill Despite Amendment Eliminating Parking Lot Language

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

House Bill 650, the NRA-backed omnibus firearm bill, passed second reading on Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately, an anti-gun amendment introduced by state Representative Chuck McGrady (R-117) was adopted by a narrow 59 to 57 vote. This amendment eliminated the Parking Lot language that would have barred any business from prohibiting Right-to-Carry permit holders from storing firearms in their vehicles while parked on the property of that business. Several state Representatives who have historically supported gun owners cast surprising votes in favor of this amendment. Those Representatives include:

William Brisson (D-22)
Harold Brubaker (R-78)
Jim Crawford (D-32)
Leo Daughtry (R-26)
Jerry Dockham (R-80)
Nelson Dollar (R-36)
W. David Guice (R-113)
Julia Howard (R-79)
Marvin Lucas (D-42)
William McGee (R-75)
W. C. Owens (D-1)
Johnathan Rhyne (R-97)
Joe Tolson (D-23)
William Wainwright (D-12)
Michael Wray (D-27)

In addition, state Representative Brian Holloway (R-91) did not vote, although he was present. Had any of these Representatives stuck with their history of supporting the Second Amendment, the McGrady amendment would have failed.  While there was no stated opposition to H 650 during the committee hearing when it passed, and no opposition presented by the business community, Representatives McGrady and Paul Stam (R-37) joined with devout anti-gun state Representatives Joe Hackney (D-54) and Deborah Ross (D-38) to promote removal of the parking lot provision.  Those in favor of the amendments focused their arguments in defense of business interests, even though the business community had failed to raise objections.

The bill passed third reading on Tuesday evening after another hostile amendment, introduced by state Representative Ray Rapp (D-118), was defeated.  This amendment would have removed language that allows Right-to-Carry permit holders to transport and store firearms in their vehicles when on school property.  This bill now heads to the Senate.

H 650 makes many improvements to North Carolina's firearm laws, in spite of the anti-gun McGrady amendment.  It contains Castle Doctrine language, Fraudulent Firearms Purchase language, ensures North Carolina law mirrors federal law relating to purchasing rifles and shotguns by North Carolina residents in other states and by non-residents of North Carolina when purchasing in North Carolina, establishes a straight recognition standard for North Carolina honoring valid Right-to-Carry permits issued by other states, and other improvements. 

Representative Hilton deserves a great deal of thanks for working on this legislation, and he worked closely not only with the NRA to ensure its passage, but also with others who may have opposed the bill.  Thanks to Representative Hilton, many groups that may have opposed this bill remained neutral.

To thank Representative Hilton for his dedication in passing legislation to protect your Second Amendment rights, please call him at 919-733-5988, or send an e-mail to Mark.Hilton@ncleg.net.

With this year's legislative session winding down, and most of the interests of the pro-gun community now in the hands of the Senate, it is imperative that you contact your state Senator and urge him or her to support H 650, as well as H 111, the Restaurant and Parks Right-to-Carry reform bill.  In addition, urge your Senator to work with the NRA to ensure passage of these, and other important pro-gun reforms.  To find your state Senator’s contact information, please click here.

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