SB 560 – the Sport Shooting Range Protection Act – passed the North Carolina Senate yesterday by a 36-13 vote. According to Grass Roots NC, the rules were suspended which allowed a single vote for both the 2nd and 3rd readings of the bill. It now goes to the NC State House. More importantly, it was passed prior to the crossover deadline of June 9th which means the bill can still be considered for passage anytime between now and next year. It does not have to pass the House before the probable adjournment of this session in July.
The breakdown of the vote is below.
Ayes: Senator(s): Allran; Apodaca; Berger, D.; Berger, P.; Bingham; Blake; Brock; Brown; Brunstetter; Clary; Daniel; Davis; East; Forrester; Garrou; Goolsby; Gunn; Harrington; Hartsell; Hise; Hunt; Jackson; Jenkins; Kinnaird; Meredith; Newton; Pate; Preston; Rabon; Rouzer; Rucho; Soucek; Stevens; Tillman; Tucker; Walters
Noes: Senator(s): Atwater; Clodfelter; Dannelly; Graham; Jones; Mansfield; McKissick; Nesbitt; Purcell; Robinson; Stein; Vaughan; White
Exc. Absence: Senator(s): Blue
Those voting against the bill were all Democrats while the majority in favor was a mixture of both Democrats and Republicans.
The bill as passed was amended in committee to specify that to be considered in continuous operation the range had to relocate within the same county. If it moved to another county, it was now subject to the ordinances in effect when the property was purchases.
SECTION 1. G.S. 14‑409.46 is amended by adding two new subsections to read:
“(f) For the purposes of this Article, a sport shooting range that relocates to another location within the same county due to condemnation, rezoning, annexation, road construction, or development:
(1) Is still considered to be continuously in existence since beginning operation at its previous location; and
(2) Is not considered to have undergone a substantial change in use as the result of the location.
(g) A sport shooting range that is exempted from liability under this Article and that relocates to a new location in a different county shall comply with ordinances in effect at the new location as of the date property is purchased to establish the range at the new location.”
Range protection is important. The days of shooting in your backyard so long as you lived outside the city limits are all but over in a lot of places. Even in rural areas in states with strong range protection laws, the establishment of a new range is not an easy task as seen in this story from Missouri. Attacking shooting ranges is a backdoor attack on the Second Amendment as the Ezell case in Chicago makes clear.