Last night, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed House Bill 640, the Outdoor Heritage Act, which would repeal the outdated ban on the use of firearms for hunting on Sundays on private property. Unfortunately, amendments were passed that have watered down the original Sunday hunting provisions supported by the NRA.
This critical pro-hunting bill was amended to exclude Wake and Mecklenburg Counties from the Sunday hunting provision, as well as to allow any county to adopt a local ordinance prohibiting hunting on Sunday—in effect, making it possible for every county to ban Sunday hunting as of October 1, 2017. Furthermore, the bill was amended to require that hunters must have a minimum distance of 500 yards from a place of worship or accessory structure thereof and 500 yards from a residence not held by the owner of the land where the hunting is occurring on Sundays. There is concern that these amendments were not made in good faith to truly expand hunting opportunities on Sundays. It is critical that the North Carolina General Assembly pass a strong, statewide repeal of the Sunday hunting restrictions on private property.
There is no scientific reason that hunting can’t be done on Sunday. Last week, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission passed a resolution in full support of HB 640 in its original form. Click here to see why the Commission supports Sunday hunting.
Opponents of Sunday hunting often erroneously claim that allowing hunting on Sundays would negatively impact church attendance. However, according to a 2014 Gallup poll, out of the top 10 states in the country for church attendance, North Carolina is the ONLY state that restricts hunting on private property on Sundays. Furthermore, three of the bottom 10 states for church attendance fully prohibit hunting on Sundays. Hence, giving citizens the freedom to hunt on Sundays will not directly determine their religious tendencies.
North Carolina is one of only 9 states where hunting on private land is restricted or prohibited on Sunday due to antiquated “blue laws” dating back to the 1700s. While hunting is restricted in North Carolina, other activities such as fishing, hiking and target shooting remain perfectly legal on the seventh day of the week. Between work, school and other obligations, Sunday hunting bans work to discourage hunting at a time when hunter recruitment and participation must be encouraged in order to save our hunting heritage.
Your NRA will remain vigilant in the fight to expand Sunday hunting opportunities for all North Carolinians and will keep you updated on the progress of the bill as it moves through the Senate. It is imperative that you contact your state Senator and encourage them to vote to support repealing the ban on Sunday hunting in the Tar Heel State.