Grass Roots North Carolina sent out this message a couple of hours ago regarding HB 74, the second – and originally stronger – castle doctrine bill. The amazing thing to me is that the person attacking the bill is Republican House Majority Leader Paul Stam. Without pro-gun voters there wouldn’t be a Republican majority in the NC General Assembly. The former House Majority Leader went down to defeat over this very issue.
* Republican House Majority Leader attacks HB 74, portending battles to come
* Senate version passes 2nd Reading: 3rd Reading Monday
Two Castle Doctrine bills are working their way through the NC legislature. Which bill might ultimately be enacted into law remains to be seen.
SB 34 has been much improved from its original weak version and today passed its 2nd Reading Senate by a vote of 33-17. Vote details for particular Senators will be published when they become available. Generally (although not always), 3rd Reading is a formality. Both may be accomplished in a single day provided no member of the body objects. Apparently, one of the perennial anti-gun members objected, delaying 3rd Reading until Monday.
AMBUSH IN THE HOUSE
HB 74, originally the stronger Castle Doctrine bill, met far tougher resistance in a House Judiciary subcommittee, however, as it was repeatedly attacked not only by anti-gun Democrats, but also by Republican House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake, formerly GRNC ****).
In relentless questioning apparently intended to tie up the bill, painted scenarios of drug dealers shooting it out and using Castle Doctrine as a legal defense (this was rebutted by committee counsel), likening the bill to “expedited execution.” Using phrases like “dead people on the floor” and “shoot first and ask questions later,” Stam eventually produced handwritten language he claimed would accomplish “95%” of what bill supporters want, but which actually offered crime victims few protections beyond current law.
Equally obstructionist were Reps. Darren Jackson (D-Wake, 0-star), and Grier Martin (D-Wake, GRNC 0-star), both of whom repeatedly demanded impossible statistics on home invasions until both GRNC president Paul Valone and representatives of the Administrative Office of the Courts pointed out that such statistics are not kept.
Advocating passage of the bill were subcommittee chair Mark Hilton (R-Catawba, ****), stalwart George Cleveland (R-Onslow, ****), freshman Jonathan Jordan (R-Ashe, ****) and Shirley Randleman (R-Wilkes, ****). Hilton, Cleveland and Randleman are primary sponsors for HB 74.
The bill eventually passed in a 5-3 vote with Reps. Cleveland, Jordan, Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke, ****), Rayne Brown (R-Davidson, ****) and Ric Killian (R-Mecklenburg, ****) voting for it, and Stam, Jackson and Martin voting against it.
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
HB 74 now heads for the full Judiciary Committee, where it will undoubtedly meet resistance not only from the same individuals but other anti-gun Democrats including Deborah Ross (D-Wake, 0-star), who chaired the committee which in the last session killed Castle Doctrine by denying it a hearing. Moreover, when the senate bill, SB 34, crosses to the House, it will also be referred to the same committee, portending tough battles for both bills.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED
* CALL AND E-MAIL MAJORITY LEADER SKIP STAM: Remind him that gun owners helped replace previous leadership over precisely this issue. Reach him at: Paul.Stam@ncleg.net and 919-733-2962. Note: If his office complains about the subcommittee hearing giving “no public notice,” remind them that ad hoc committees are not required to and rarely do. If he says his proposal is “better,” remind them that HB 74 mirrors every other state which has adopted Castle Doctrine.
* E-MAIL SPEAKER THOM TILLIS: Pro-gun Speaker Tillis (R-Mecklenburg, ****) supports Castle Doctrine, but needs POLITE AND CONSTRUCTIVE input to rein in Majority Leader Stam. At this point, gun owners from outside his district should e-mail only. Constituents should call. Reach Tillis at: Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net