Last week, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed HB 937 by a margin of 78 to 42. This bill would amend various North Carolina gun laws. Included in this list of laws were provisions that clarified the General Assembly’s intentions with regard to park carry, that would permit concealed carry (but not alcohol consumption) in establishments that served alcohol, that would permit concealed carry at events that charged admission, and that would permit concealed carry holders to leave their firearms in a locked vehicle on university and community college campuses. Note on this last provision, a person would still be breaking the law if they carried on campus.
The margin of victory for this bill was provided by every single Republican and one lone Democrat voting to pass this bill. The lone Democrat was Rep. Paul Tine (D-Dare) who should be congratulated for breaking ranks with his fellow Democrats to vote for gun rights.
Strong efforts were made to derail this bill through amendments proposed by anti-gun Democrats. However, each and every amendment was tabled through the efforts of Speaker Tom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and Rules Committee Chairman Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). This precluded debates that would delay passage of the bill.
As to the amendments themselves, they were, for the most part, the same sort of anti-gun legislation seen in states like Colorado, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut. Five of the 12 total were introduced before the Second Reading vote and the rest before the Third and final Reading of the bill. I have listed the amendments in order below along with their purpose.
- Would provide for universal background checks on all private transfers. Uses the Bloomberg language on transfers. Introduced by Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham)
- Would have deleted the provision concerning firearms in locked vehicles on university and community college campuses. Introduced by Rep. Alma Adams (D-Guilford)
- Would increase the penalty for consumption of alcohol while carrying concealed. Includes a $1,000 minimum fine and five year revocation of NC CHP. It also increases it to a Class 1 misdemeanor from a Class 2 misdemeanor. Introduced by Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake)
- Would ban magazines with a greater than 10 round capacity as well as shotgun tubes or magazines holding more than eight rounds. Introduced by Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford)
- Would require the safe storage of firearms. Introduced by Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange)
- Would require that a person adjudicated mental incompetent or involuntarily committed and whose rights have been restored under GS 122C-54.1 wait a minimum of seven years after restoration before being allowed to have a CHP. Introduced by Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance)
- Would give universities and community colleges the option to ban concealed handguns on campus. This would also negate storage of a firearm in a locked vehicle on campus by concealed carry permit holders. Introduced by Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) Tabled by unrecorded voice vote.
- A repeat of Amendment 5 introduced by Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange)
- A repeat of Amendment 4 introduced by Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford)
- A repeat of Amendment 3 introduced by Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake)
- A repeat of Amendment 1 introduced by Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham)
- A repeat of Amendment 2 introduced by Rep. Alma Adams (D-Guilford)
While it might be argued that a vote against tabling the bill was a vote to have a broader debate on the merits of the amendment, nonetheless the amendments themselves were anti-gun measures. With the exception of Amendments 6 and 11, not one Democrat voted in favor of tabling these anti-gun amendments. Rep. Michael Wray (D-Halifax) voted to table Amendment 6 and Rep. William Brisson (D-Bladen) voted to table Amendment 11. The only amendment to gather more than 3 Republicans against its tabling was Amendment 6 which garnered 11 Republican “Nay” votes. That amendment was sponsored by Republican Dennis Riddell who ultimately voted for the full bill.
With the exception of the provision concerning storage of firearms in locked vehicles by concealed carry holders on university and community college campuses, this bill was not filled with controversial provisions. It should be remembered that restaurant carry and parks carry both passed the State House in the 2011-2012 session of the General Assembly. Both of those bills had significant support from Democrats.
Given the relatively non-controversial nature of this bill, it is disturbing to see Democrats who claim to be pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment not only vote against this bill but essentially in a favor of the more draconian gun control measures passed in states like New York and Colorado. There are five Democrats below who got a B- or better from the NRA as well as five Democrats who received at least one star from GRNC who traditionally is a hard grader. Not a damn one of them voted for the passage of HB 937.
I am equally saddened by the number of African-American legislators who voted against this bill. Twenty out of the 42 who voted against this bill are African-American. Additionally, Rep. Charles Graham (D-Robeson) is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Nation. Both African-Americans and the Lumbee Indians were targets of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists. Gun control laws in North Carolina were meant to keep blacks and other minorities disarmed in the face of these white supremacist groups such as the Klan. Indeed, the current pistol purchase permit requirement is a legacy of these Jim Crow laws.
I have listed below the Democrats who voted against HB 937 on the Third Reading. I have also included their email address and their 2012 ratings by both the NRA and GRNC. If one of these legislators is your representative, I’d write and express my displeasure at their vote.