* CALL YOUR HOUSE REP: Tell he or she to support HB 111 with no further weakening amendments. You can identify your representative to the NC House by going to: Representatives
* SHUT DOWN ROSS, FAISON AND HALL: Deliver a clear message that you will not tolerate meddling with gun rights legislation by calling the offices of Reps. Ross 919-733-5773, Faison 919-715-3019 and Hall 919-733-5872 between the hours of 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM on Thursday, March 10. If you happen to miss that time period, call them whenever you can.
HB 111 - Parks & Restaurants
In a bruising battle fought by both legislators and GRNC's Legislative Action Team, HB 111, "Handgun Permit Valid in Parks & Restaurants" fought its way out of the NC House Judiciary A Subcommittee and now heads for a floor vote as early as tomorrow. Both strengthening and weakening changes were made to the bill.
REP. HILTON'S SUBSTITUTE
Working with GRNC, bill sponsors Mark Hilton (R-Catawba, ****), Jeff Barnhart (R-Cabarrus, ****) and Fred Steen (R-Rowan, ****) produced an enhanced version of HB 111 which included concealed carry not only in municipal parks, but in state parks as well. The substitute was quickly adopted as the working vehicle for the bill.
Anti-gun Reps. Deborah Ross (D-Wake, GRNC 0-star), Bill Faison (D-Durham, **), and Larry Hall (D-Durham, 0-star) tried to tie up the bill with repeated questioning and with contradictory and shifting amendments. Ross demanded that, in restaurants, servers ask diners ordering alcohol whether they are carrying firearms. In a confusing array of amendments to amendments, ultimately the committee passed an amendment to the bill under which restaurants MAY but are not REQUIRED to ask those ordering alcohol of their status. As noted below, GRNC will vociferously oppose even this weakened language on the House floor.
An equally confusing series of amendments was offered by Faison, who tried to remove both municipal and state parks from the bill. After Hilton, Barnhart and Steen opposed Faison's proposals, they ultimately failed in an 8-5 vote.
In an effort to tie up the bill, Faison repeatedly dogged bill sponsors with questions about why permit-holders need to protect their families in restaurants, demanding unavailable crime statistics and complaining "Where's the problem?" Hall painted fanciful pictures of shootouts between patrons in restaurants, and demanded exclusion of parks for the sake of "youth groups," saying he didn't want permit-holders "further endangering" kids.
But leading the charge to subvert gun owners' ability to protect themselves was Ross, who claimed support for her weakening amendment from the Restaurant Association (whose lobbyist then stood to oppose the Ross amendment), and whined that concealed carry is specifically exempted from the right to keep and bear arms enumerated in the North Carolina Constitution.
Please Deliver This Message
Honorable Members of the NC House:
For sixteen years, North Carolina concealed handgun permit-holders have proven themselves sane, sober and law-abiding. Their overwhelming responsibility is demonstrated by the fact that permit revocations run mere tenths of a single percent.
Because the ability of lawful North Carolinians to protect themselves and their families in restaurants and parks is long overdue, I STRONGLY URGE YOU TO SUPPORT HOUSE BILL 111: "Concealed Handgun Permit Valid in Parks and Restaurants" by all means substantive and procedural, and to pass the bill WITHOUT WEAKENDING AMENDMENTS. Under the bill, restaurants would still be able to post against firearms, and nothing would change the current prohibition on permit-holders consuming alcohol while carrying firearms.
I also expect you to support removing Representative Deborah Ross' amendment which would require permit-holders to disclose whether they are carrying firearms to restaurant servers, patrons, and potentially criminals. Under the Ross amendment, if a permit-holder orders an alcoholic beverage for someone else - even though the permit holder consumes no alcohol - he or she could be required to make that tactically unsound and potentially dangerous disclosure. If not removed, the Ross amendment will eventually cost lives.
I will monitor actions on HB 111 via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.