Thank You to All North Carolina NRA Members for Your Efforts!
With the North Carolina General Assembly set to adjourn this Friday, the state Senate acted quickly and passed House Bill 650 yesterday, before time ran out. This legislation, introduced by pro-gun state Representative Mark Hilton (R-96), is an extensive reform of North Carolina gun laws. It contains Castle Doctrine language, Fraudulent Firearms Purchase language, allows Right-to-Carry (RTC) permit holders to store firearms in their vehicles when parked on the grounds of certain state properties and courthouses, removes the restriction on owning (but not possessing) firearms by those subject to certain orders of protection, allows for the purchase of rifles and shotguns by North Carolina residents in all of the 49 other states, removes some restrictions on local governments prohibiting RTC permit holders from carrying firearms in parks under local control, as well as other improvements.
HB 650 now heads to Governor Beverly Perdue for her signature. Please contact Governor Perdue by clicking here and thank her for her past support of the Second Amendment, and urge her to sign into law this critical legislation.
While HB 650 makes tremendous improvements to current law, the NRA was disappointed that many provisions in the original bill were not passed. We worked closely in the House with the bill's sponsor, Representative Hilton, to ensure that we could get the best possible bill.
One unfortunate casualty overall was strong Parking Lot/Employee Protection language that would have prohibited businesses from establishing policies that would have stopped RTC permit holders from storing firearms safely in their vehicles. This provision was struck from the bill by an amendment offered by state Representative Chuck McGrady (R-117) and passed by a 59 to 57 vote in the House. In fact, if just one Representative who voted for this amendment had voted against it, it would have failed. You can find the recorded vote here.
Another unfortunate casualty was language that would have allowed RTC permit holders to safely store their firearms in their vehicles while parked on school property. This was removed in the Senate, when the Senate Judiciary II Committee approved a substitute for HB 650 that carved out this provision. While it is unclear why this provision was excluded and who was directly responsible for this action, Senate Republican leadership made it clear that it was directly involved with all firearm-related legislation. We can only presume this action was approved by the Senate leadership.
An additional casualty in the Senate was Senate Bill 594, the bill introduced by state Senator Doug Berger (D-7) that would have ensured that the Second Amendment would not be impacted during a declared State of Emergency. While the NRA strongly urged state Senators to add the language in SB 594 to HB 650, state Senator Buck Newton (R-11) refused to allow the bill to be heard or added to another bill as an amendment, even though he was a cosponsor of SB 594. His action were supported by Senate Republican leadership.
Fortunately, Governor Perdue has been making sure gun rights are not affected when she declares a State of Emergency. Unfortunately, because of the inaction in the Senate on SB 594, if a local government declares a State of Emergency, prohibitions on transporting firearms outside of the home may still be imposed. Even RTC permit holders would be forced to leave their personal protection firearms at home in order to comply with a local State of Emergency. This could put lives at risk.
Finally, House Bill 111, also introduced by Representative Hilton, was not acted upon in the state Senate. This bill would have removed the prohibition on RTC permit holders carrying their firearms into a restaurant licensed to serve alcohol. Although a Senate Republican leadership representative had stated this bill would be voted on this year, it never was. Thankfully, because it passed the House long before the crossover deadline, the bill remains viable for next year. The NRA will work to ensure it passes next year, and continue to work for additional firearm reforms.
Thank you for all of your efforts to help NRA advance the cause of the Second Amendment in North Carolina this session!