North Carolina HB 17 went before the House Judiciary A Committee yesterday. That bill would provide for the confidentiality of pistol purchase permit and concealed handgun permit data. It would have also legalized concealed carry by non-drinking patrons in restaurants and eating establishments. The Judiciary A Committee saw fit to pass a substitute amendment which dropped restaurant carry. Word coming to Grass Roots North Carolina is that this change was at the behest of Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) who may have higher aspirations in 2014.
GRNC is asking that people contact both Speaker Tillis and their own representative to ask that restaurant carry be restored to HB 17.
Restaurant carry is down but not out ...
The North Carolina House Judiciary A Subcommittee today stripped restaurant carry out of House Bill 17, leaving only the language which would remove concealed handgun and handgun purchase permits from public record, before passing the bill out of committee. What remains now moves to the floor.
Both bill sponsor Representative Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly, GRNC ****) and Judiciary subcommittee chair Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford, ****) made it clear that the Proposed Committee Substitute used for the deed was not of their making, but rather from "higher up" -- the "higher up" in question being Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg, ****) himself. Said Tillis by email: "We have delivered legislation to the Senate [in the last session] and we look forward to the Senate responding in kind this session."
While Tillis is correct in noting that during the 2011-2012 session, the House under his leadership passed HB 111 for restaurant carry, only to have it stalled by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Guilford, Rockingham, ****), numerous House members have complained about the lack of movement in potentially contentious legislation, further speculating it may be related to Tillis' aspirations to the U.S. Senate.
Representatives from Tillis' office deny this, of course, noting they have already moved contentious legislation and allowing that they might move restaurant carry if either the Senate says they too will act on the bill, or if it is received from the Senate. Below you will see our recommendation that you contact both your House representative and Speaker Tillis to tell them to move restaurant carry, but please understand the Speaker has not dismissed the idea, so do not treat him as an opponent (yet).
SB 342: "Amend Gun Laws"
Meanwhile, restaurant carry lives in the Senate. Introduced by Judiciary Co-Chair Senator Buck Newton (R-, Johnston, Nash, Wilson, ****) and sponsored Dan Soucek; and Jeff Tarte; (primary) and Tom Apodaca; Andrew C. Brock; Warren Daniel; Ronald J. Rabin; and Shirley B. Randleman (cosponsors), the bill encompasses not only the restaurant carry language drafted by GRNC and Rep. Mark Hilton in the last session, but also a "cleanup" of the parks carry language currently being tortured by municipalities to ban guns in whole parks. Given that the Senate stalled restaurant carry in HB 111 last year, the fact that Judiciary Co-Chair Newton and Rules Chair Tom Apodaca have signed on as sponsors bodes well for the bill. See below for recommendations on action.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
- Contact Speaker Thom Tillis at 919-733-3451 and Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net. Once again, Tillis is not yet a lost cause, so BE POLITE.
- Contact your NC House representative: Tell them to contact Speaker Tillis and remind him that gun owners help put him in his position for the purpose of LEADING on this issue. Have them ask him to return restaurant carry to HB 17. To find your House rep, CLICK HERE or go to: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx Once there enter your address into the text box for NC House.
- Contact your NC Senator: Tell them to encourage Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger to give SB 342 a prompt committee hearing, rather than waiting until the last minute. To find your Senate rep, CLICK HERE or go to: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx Once there enter your address into the text box for NC Senate.
DELIVER THIS MESSAGE
Dear Speaker Tillis:
While I appreciate that the North Carolina House, under your leadership, moved House Bill 111 for restaurant carry in the previous session, only to see it die in the Senate, I also expect you to realize that gun owners played a huge role in making North Carolina the only battleground state to repel the Obama political machine and elect conservative, pro-gun leaders.
We elected you to lead; now we expect you to deliver. Now is not the time to dither about which chamber should be the first to move what is a top priority for North Carolina gun voters, but instead to lead decisively and by example. That means returning restaurant carry to House Bill 17.
I will spare you the facts about concealed handgun permit-holders being model law-abiding citizens: You already know them. Instead, my message is this: Please move restaurant carry.
I will be monitoring your actions via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.