Grass Roots North Carolina issued an alert last night regarding the move the NC House to send HB 937 to a Conference Committee. The move, while disappointing, was not unexpected given the staunch opposition by the NC Sheriffs Association to doing away with the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit system. There had been rumors that Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) would veto the bill if that provision was not removed as a way to placate the sheriffs.
The alert from GRNC encourages gun rights supporters to contact Speaker Thom Tills (R-Mecklenburg), Sen. President Pro-Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), and Gov. McCrory to demand that, with the exception of the pistol purchase permit system, nothing else be dropped from the bill.
House sends bill to conference committee
As expected, the NC House today voted against concurring with Senate changes to HB 937 ("Amend Various Firearms Laws"). The bill contains provisions for concealed carry in restaurants, assemblies of people for which admission is charged, state-controlled parking lots, educational properties (provided guns are kept in locked vehicles) and much more. If passed largely intact, it will represent the largest advance in gun rights in North Carolina history.
At issue is the repeal of North Carolina's Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit law, which is opposed by the NC Sheriffs' Assoc. and Governor Pat McCrory. While GRNC strongly urged that the House concur with Senate strengthening of the bill, leaving the full PP repeal intact, we remain optimistic about resolution of differences because Speaker Thom Tillis' office has said that:
Thanks to the stalwarts
- Other aspects of the bill will not be weakened in committee and will, in fact, likely be strengthened in at least one respect;
- Although the PP repeal will not stay in entirety, in a radio interview Tillis has promised a compromise which will at least partially satisfy the concerns of all interested parties, including GRNC; and
- The bill will pass THIS YEAR.
First, GRNC wishes to thank the 18 stalwart gun rights supporters who voted for concurrence, even in the face of pressure to weaken the bill. They are: Representative(s): Bell, J.; Brawley, R.; Brody; Bumgardner; Catlin; Elmore; Faircloth; Ford; Hastings; Jones; Jordan; Millis; Pittman; Presnell; Shepard; Speciale; Stone; Torbett.
Conference committee members
We do NOT recommend beating on the following legislators who have been appointed to the conference committee, since they are generally strong Second Amendment supporters with excellent voting records. We are particularly heartened by the fact that the Senate Chair is Sen. Buck Newton, primary architect of the Senate improvements to HB 937. The conferees are:
House: Rep. Jacqueline Michelle Schaffer, Chair; Rep. Justin P. Burr; Rep. John Faircloth; Rep. George G. Cleveland.
Senate: Sen. E. S. (Buck) Newton, Chair, Sen. Kathy Harrington, Sen. Andrew C. Brock, Sen. Shirley B. Randleman.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
CALL & EMAIL Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and Gov. Pat McCrory.
Speaker Thom Tillis, 919-733-3451,
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, (919) 733-5708
Gov. Pat McCrory, (919) 814-2000,
Email using webpage at http://www.governor.state.nc.us/contact/email-pat
DELIVER THIS MESSAGE
Suggested Subject: Keep HB 937 Strong
Dear Speaker Tillis/President Pro Tem Phil Berger/Governor Pat McCrory:
While I am disappointed that Republican leaders bowed to demands by the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association, which seems to oppose repeal of the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit law entirely for reasons of power and money, I remain optimistic that leadership will deliver a strong bill to the gun-owning voters who elected them.
It goes without saying that all other aspects of House Bill 937 must remain entirely intact. Beyond that, any "compromise" worked out on the purchase permit repeal must: (1) Not impose additional burdens on gun owners, including (but not limited to) record-keeping on firearm transfers and restrictions and limitations on permits; and (2) Close the "arming felons loophole" by repealing at least the portion of the law dealing with dealer transfers.
Realizing that conferees will be acting only on the approval of leadership, I will hold you responsible for the HB 937 conference committee report. I hope to tell other gun-owning voters, in future elections, that you supported their rights. I will closely monitor this issue via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.