The North Carolina House of Representatives passed HB 937 - Amend Various Firearms Laws - on the Third Reading. They also tabled a number of amendments which would not only have weakened the bill but would have added things like magazine restrictions, background checks, and safe storage laws. What the bill does do is clarify park carry, allow restaurant carry and carry in events that charge admission, and allows concealed carry holders to have firearms locked in their vehicles on university and community college campuses.
What was sad is that only one Democrat voted for the bill. That was Rep. Paul Tine (D-Dare) of Kitty Hawk. He is to be congratulated. The rest of the Democrats in the State House including some that ostensibly were "pro-gun" not only voted against the bill but for the weakening amendments. I'll have a subsequent post up on those amendments and who voted for them later.
In the meantime, Grass Roots North Carolina is quite pleased that the Republicans stood firm "with those that brought them." It goes on to the State Senate where it will face continued opposition from the leadership of the University of North Carolina System and a number of Democrats. GRNC is asking that people ask Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) to stand firm this time.
In recent months, GRNC has spent plenty of time beating on Republican leaders for failing to "dance with the ones that brought them," namely failure to move gun legislation after gun owners came out strong in the 2012 elections.
Perhaps that message got through: On Monday and Tuesday, Republicans stood firm in defending House Bill 937, "Amend Various Gun Laws," against an onslaught of anti-gun amendments proposed by Reps. Darren Jackson (D-Wake, GRNC 0-star), Paul Leubke (D-Durham, 0-star), Verla Insko (D-Orange, 0-star), Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford, 0-star) and others. Thanks are due in particular to Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg, ****) and Rules Chair Tim Moore (R-Cleveland, ****).
As weakening amendment after weakening amendment was introduced, Rep. Tim ("The Hammer") Moore and Rep. Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly, ****) shot them down with motions "lay the amendments on the table." But for their efforts, North Carolina gun owners could have been saddled not only with weakening amendments to the original bill, but also to exactly the sort of universal gun registration and standard capacity magazine bans you just defeated at a federal level.
Rep. "Yellow Star" Jackson, who previously tried to brand gun owners by their drivers' licenses much as Nazi's put Yellow Stars on those bound for concentration camps, was particularly relentless, earning GRNC-PVF's special attention in future elections.
Eloquent defense of gun owners was also given by Reps. John Blust (R-Guilford, ****), Bert Jones (R-Caswell, Rockingham, ****), Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus, ****), John Faircloth (R-Guilford, ****) and others. It should be noted that Tillis ran a tight ship, ruling for early termination of "surprise" amendments not previously submitted to legislators for review.
HB 937 now heads for the Senate, where it will undoubtedly find an equally rocky path. In addition to UNC opposition, campus carry is one thing Senate leadership has not signed off on. You input to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Guilford, Rockingham. ****) will be necessary to move the bill.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
CONTACT SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEM PHIL BERGER: Let him know that now that the House has gotten the ball rolling, you expect the Senate to pick it up THIS YEAR. We will not again stand by for "next year," as in 2011-12, at which point the chamber said, "Well, we really can't do this in an election year." Email Berger at: Phil.Berger@ncleg.net