The Republican majority in the North Carolina House of Representatives elected Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) to replace Senator-elect Thom Tillis as Speaker. Moore, a Kings Mountain attorney, was selected on the first ballot by House Republicans as they met in Asheboro.
Moore won a majority of votes from the 73 GOP lawmakers that met at Randolph Community College. He beat Reps. Justin Burr of Albemarle, Mitchell Setzer of Catawba, John Blust of Greensboro, Leo Daughtry of Smithfield and Bryan Holloway of King.Moore was ranked second in the NC House in terms of effectiveness by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research. He had chaired the House Rules Committee.
Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam of Wake County was nominated as speaker pro tem. Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County was elected majority leader and John Bell from Wayne County, majority whip.
Huntersville Republican Charles Jeter was unopposed for conference chair, a post in which he’ll oversee campaigns and fundraising.
So what does this mean for gun rights in North Carolina?
Moore was recommended by Grass Roots North Carolina-PVF where he was ranked 4 stars. He was endorsed by the NRA Political Victory Fund and rated as A+. That's a good start. It does get better as Rep. Moore was one of the speakers at a gun rights rally in 2013 organized by GRNC. Given their reputation as a "no compromise" organization, the fact that Moore would be one of the speakers says volumes about him.
It was through the efforts of Moore as head of the Rules Committee that Durham County's 80 year old gun registry was scrapped.
What about the rest of the Republicans in the House leadership?
Rep. Skip Stam (R-Wake) who will be Speaker Pro Tem is, at best, mediocre. He was rated B- by the NRA-PVF and did not receive an endorsement. Stam was not recommended by GRNC-PVF and was rated a mere 2 stars. He was characterized as a "weasel" by GRNC for his efforts to weaken some of the gun rights laws that passed the General Assembly in the last two sessions.
Rep. Mike Hager (R-Rutherford) who will be the House Majority Leader is much better. He received both a recommendation and 4 stars from the GRNC-PVF while also getting an A and the endorsement from the NRA-PVF. Hager was one of the sponsors of the bill that made the names of NC CHP and pistol permit applicants private.
Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne) is slated to be the House Majority Whip. He was rated as 4 stars by GRNC-PVF and was recommended. The NRA-PVF graded him an "A" and gave him their endorsement. His website points out the fallacy of gun-free zones and says they put innocent lives at risk. He sponsored HB937 which increased the number of places firearms would be permitted.
Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg) is the Republican Conference Chair. He was rated 3 stars by GRNC-PVF but was recommended. The NRA-PVF graded him an "A" and gave him their endorsement. His position on the Second Amendment post-Newtown was not to be reactionary like legislators on New York and Connecticut.
One thing I think should be pointed about this House leadership is their relative youth. Speaker-elect Tim Moore is 44, Conference Chair Charles Jeter is 41, and while I don't have the exact age for Majority Whip John Bell, he appears to be in his late 30s to early 40s. House Majority Leader Mike Hager is a little older at age 52. Speaker Pro Tem Skip Stam is the old guy of the bunch at 64 but, then again, the position traditionally is held by older legislators.
To conclude, with the exception of Skip Stam, the Republican House leadership for the upcoming session is good on guns. This is good news for gun rights bills that will be presented in the new session.