The North Carolina House Judiciary Subcommittee A will hold hearings on HB 63 – Firearm in Locked Motor Vehicle/Parking Lot – and on HB 111 – Handgun Permit Valid in Parks and Restaurants. According to the current House calendar, they are set to take up these measures at 10am on Wednesday, March 3rd in Raleigh.
HB 63 provides:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT NO BUSINESS, COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE, OR EMPLOYER SHALL PROHIBIT THE TRANSPORTATION OR STORAGE OF A FIREARM OR AMMUNITION WHEN THE FIREARM AND AMMUNITION ARE LOCKED OUT OF SIGHT IN A MOTOR VEHICLE, TO PROVIDE THAT A BUSINESS, COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE, OR EMPLOYER IS LIABLE TO ANYONE INJURED AS A RESULT OF AN UNLAWFUL PROHIBITION, TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON MAY BRING A CIVIL ACTION TO ENFORCE THE RIGHT TO 8 TRANSPORT AND STORE A FIREARM AND AMMUNITION IN A LOCKED MOTOR VEHICLE ON THE PROPERTY OF A BUSINESS, COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE, OR EMPLOYER, AND TO PROVIDE THAT A BUSINESS, COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE, OR EMPLOYER IS NOT CIVILLY LIABLE FOR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM ANOTHER PERSON’S ACTIONS INVOLVING A FIREARM TRANSPORTED OR STORED IN A LOCKED VEHICLE IN A MANNER THAT COMPLIES WITH STATE LAW.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Article 53B of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
“§ 14-409.41. No prohibition regarding the transportation or storage of a firearm in locked motor vehicle by business, commercial enterprise, or employer; civil liability; enforcement.
(a) As used in this section, the term “motor vehicle” means any automobile, truck, minivan, sports utility vehicle, motorcycle, motor scooter, and any other vehicle required to be registered under Chapter 20 of the General Statutes.
(b) A business, commercial enterprise, or employer shall not establish, maintain, or enforce a policy or rule that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting a person from transporting or storing any firearm or ammunition when the person is otherwise in compliance with all other applicable laws and regulations and the firearm or ammunition is locked out of sight within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or area within or on a motor vehicle.
(c) Subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to the following:
(1) Vehicles owned or leased by an employer.
(2) Facilities, lands, or property owned, operated, or controlled by any commercial or public entity engaged in the generation, transmission, or distribution of electricity; in the transmission or storage of natural gas or liquid petroleum; or in water storage or supply.
(3) Facilities owned or leased by a United States Department of Defense contractor or sites on which hazardous chemicals are stored in quantities greater than 1,000,000 pounds at any one time or in any quantity if required to be registered pursuant to the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards under the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007, Public Law 5 109-295, or the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, Public Law 6 107-295.
(4) Where transport or storage of a firearm is prohibited by State or federal law or regulation.
(d) A person who is injured or incurs damages, or the survivors of a person killed, as a result of a violation of subsection (b) of this section may bring a civil action in the appropriate court against any business entity, commercial enterprise, or employer who committed or caused such violation. A person who would be entitled legally to transport or store a firearm or ammunition, but who would be denied the ability to transport or store a firearm or ammunition by a policy in violation of subsection (b) of this section, may bring a civil action in the appropriate court to enjoin any business entity, commercial enterprise, or employer from violating subsection (b) of this section.
(e) An employee discharged by an employer, business entity, or commercial enterprise for violation of a policy or rule prohibited under subsection (b) of this section, when he or she was lawfully transporting or storing a firearm out of plain sight in a locked motor vehicle, is entitled to full recovery as specified in subdivisions (1) through (4) of this subsection, inclusive. If the demand for the recovery is denied, the employee may bring a civil action in the courts of this State against the employer, business entity, or commercial enterprise and is entitled to the following:
(1) Reinstatement to the same position held at the time of his or her termination from employment, or to an equivalent position.
(2) Reinstatement of the employee’s full fringe benefits and seniority rights, as appropriate.
(3) Compensation, if appropriate, for lost wages, benefits, or other lost remuneration caused by the termination.
(4) Payment of reasonable attorneys’ fees and legal costs incurred.
(f) No business, commercial enterprise, employer, or property owner shall be held liable in any civil action for damages, injuries, or death resulting from or arising out of another person’s actions involving a firearm or ammunition transported or stored pursuant to subsection 34 (b) of this section, including, but not limited to, the theft of a firearm from an employee’s automobile. Nothing contained in this section shall create a new duty on the part of any business, commercial enterprise, employer, or property owner beyond the duty specified in subsection (b) of this section.
(g) In any action relating to the enforcement of any right or obligation under this section, the reasonable, good-faith efforts of a business, commercial enterprise, employer, or property owner to comply with other applicable and irreconcilable federal or State safety laws or regulations shall be a complete defense to any liability of the business, commercial enterprise, employer, or property owner.
(h) It is the intent of this section to reinforce and protect the right of each citizen lawfully to transport and store firearms within his or her vehicle for lawful purposes in any place the vehicle is otherwise permitted to be and whenever this would not contravene existing federal or State law or regulation.”
SECTION 2. This act becomes effective December 1, 2011, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.
While HB 63 has specific exclusions for certain entities such as water, natural gas/LP, and electric utilities plus areas where state and federal laws and regulations prohibit it, generally it will apply to a broad swath of employers in North Carolina. The bill has four primary sponsors and 18 co-sponsors. In this case, they are all Republican except for one unaffiliated member.
HB 111 would do two things. It would allow CHP holders to carry in eating establishments and restaurants including those that serve alcohol. Under current North Carolina law, it is illegal for a CHP holder to carry a firearm, concealed or open carry, into any restaurant that serves alcohol (GS 14-269.3) Restaurants are defined as any eating establishment that has seating for 36 customers, a separate kitchen, and which makes 30% or more of its profits from the sale of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
HB 111 would also forbid any state or local entity from enacting any law, regulation, or ordinance prohibiting concealed carry holders from carrying in parks. They could make such laws regarding government building and adjoining premises.
HB 111 reads:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT TO ALLOW PERSONS WITH CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES IN RESTAURANTS AND TO ALLOW A CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITTEE TO CARRY A HANDGUN IN A PARK.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. G.S. 14-269.3(b) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:
“(5) A person on the premises of an establishment that is a restaurant under G.S. 18B-1000(2) or G.S. 18B-1000(6), provided the person has a valid concealed handgun permit under Article 54B of Chapter 14 of the General 10 Statutes.”
SECTION 2. G.S. 14-415.23 reads as rewritten:
“§ 14-415.23. Statewide uniformity.
It is the intent of the General Assembly to prescribe a uniform system for the regulation of legally carrying a concealed handgun. To insure uniformity, no political subdivisions, boards, or agencies of the State nor any county, city, municipality, municipal corporation, town, township, village, nor any department or agency thereof, may enact ordinances, rules, or regulations concerning legally carrying a concealed handgun. A unit of local government may adopt an ordinance to permit the posting of a prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun, in ccordance with G.S. 14-415.11(c), on local government
buildings, their appurtenant premises, and parks.buildings and their appurtenant premises.”
SECTION 3. This act becomes effective December 1, 2011
This bill has four primary sponsors and a bipartisan group of 17 co-sponsors.
Judiciary Subcommittee A only has a few members who are listed sponsors or co-sponsors of these bills. Of greater concern is that Rep. Deborah Ross (D-Wake) is a member of this committee. In the last session, as Chairperson of this subcommittee, she refused to allow hearings on the Castle Doctrine even after it had been passed by the State Senate. However, Rep. Ross is now in the Minority and cannot exert the same power she did in earlier sessions.
UPDATE: Thanks to WRAL we have streaming video of this subcommittee hearing. The hearing lasted 58 minutes and, according to WRAL, no votes were taken. Therefore, it isn’t too late to contact these members and urge an affirmative vote on HB 63 and HB 111.