It appears that NC Speaker of the House Thom Tillis might be going wobbly on HB 937 and is also spreading misinformation on the position of Grass Roots North Carolina. With Tillis now an announced candidate for the US Senate to run for the seat held by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), it is time to ramp up the pressure on both Tillis and the rest of the Republicans in the North Carolina House.
It has come to our attention that the office of NC House Speaker Thom Tillis has told callers that GRNC “supports” removal of the pistol purchase permit repeal from House Bill 937 and the replacement of the measure with a study commission. That is a misstatement of GRNC’s position.
With less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session, it became clear that Speaker Tillis, faced with Governor McCrory’s acquiescence to demands by the NC Sheriffs’ Assoc. to remove the purchase permit repeal, might simply kill the entire bill by bringing it to the floor and re-referring it committee, where it would languish, rather than choosing between gun owners and sheriffs.
HB 937 cannot be ‘amended’
Meanwhile, input we have received suggests that gun owners are of two minds: One faction notes that the purchase permit repeal was not in the original bill, and that the substantial gains of restaurant carry, campus carry, assemblies for which admission is charged and more should not be risked for one provision we might be able to get later. Others want us to stand strong for the repeal because other aspects of the bill primarily benefit concealed handgun permit-holders more than other gun owners.
To those who have suggested we simply “amend” HB 937 to remove the purchase permit language, however, we are compelled to note that bills are not amendable on concurrence votes. The only option is for the House not to concur, in which case the bill goes to a conference committee comprising members of both chambers. Please note: Once the bill is in conference, we have no direct control over what comes out. The single and only alternative if we don’t like what results would be to kill the bill in its entirety. It is for that reason GRNC has opposed sending the bill to conference.
GRNC strongly urges legislators to concur
In the position just sent to the NC House, GRNC continues to admonish legislators to vote for concurrence. Acknowledging that it is critical to keep the bill moving as the end of the session approaches, however, we also advised them that we will not track the vote on concurrence PROVIDED that the bill is not otherwise weakened in the conference committee. Although we cannot speak for other organizations, representatives of both the NRA and NCRPA have expressed support for the position.
Presuming the bill goes to a conference committee, here is what we will push for:
1. Keeping restaurant and campus carry and all other aspects in the bill;
2. Repeal or curtailment of the present purchase permit system; and
3. Inclusion of key legislators whom we can trust on the committee.
What GRNC will not accept
If, however, a weaker bill leaves the conference committee, any legislator who voted to send it to conference will be assessed as having voted against the interests of gun owners, which will be reflected in “Remember in November” candidate evaluations. This is intended to give the less resolute members of the Republican caucus “ownership” in what the committee produces.
In particular, there is one “deal killer” which may cause GRNC to oppose the bill: Shortening the duration for which purchase permits are valid, which is currently five years. Doing so would punish lawful gun owners for the malfeasance of the Sheriff’s Association, which has known about and refused to address the system’s flaws for decades.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
CALL & EMAIL YOUR HOUSE REP: Have them tell NC House Speaker Thom Tillis that he should listen to millions of NC gun owners instead of 100 sheriffs by SUPPORTING A VOTE TO CONCUR on HB 937. The fact is that sheriffs and their entrenched, highly paid lobbyist have refused to address this problem for decades. Find your House rep by CLICKING HERE or going to: http://ncga.state.nc.us/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx
EMAIL ALL NC HOUSE REPUBLICANS: Tell them they don’t have a “get-out-of-jail-free” card to vote against gun owners. If they vote against concurrence and HB 937 is weakened in conference committee, THEY WILL BE HELD RESPONSIBLE. If they want the best and safest course of action, THEY SHOULD VOTE TO CONCUR. To email House Republicans, use the copy-and-paste email list below and either the suggested message or one of your own.
Dean.Arp@ncleg.net, Marilyn.Avila@ncleg.net, John.Bell@ncleg.net, Hugh.Blackwell@ncleg.net, John.Blust@ncleg.net, Jamie.Boles@ncleg.net, Robert.Brawley@ncleg.net, Bill.Brawley@ncleg.net, Mark.Brody@ncleg.net, Brian.Brown@ncleg.net, Rayne.Brown@ncleg.net, Rob.Bryan@ncleg.net, Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.net, Justin.Burr@ncleg.net, Rick.Catlin@ncleg.net, Jeff.Collins@ncleg.net, Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net, Leo.Daughtry@ncleg.net, Ted.Davis@ncleg.net, Jimmy.Dixon@ncleg.net, Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net, Jerry.Dockham@ncleg.net, Nelson.Dollar@ncleg.net, Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net, John.Faircloth@ncleg.net, Carl.Ford@ncleg.net, Jim.Fulghum@ncleg.net, Mike.Hager@ncleg.net, Jon.Hardister@ncleg.net, Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.net, Mark.Hollo@ncleg.net, Bryan.Holloway@ncleg.net, Craig.Horn@ncleg.net, Julia.Howard@ncleg.net, Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net, Frank.Iler@ncleg.net, Charles.Jeter@ncleg.net, Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net, Bert.Jones@ncleg.net, Jonathan.Jordan@ncleg.net, Donny.Lambeth@ncleg.net, James.Langdon@ncleg.net, David.Lewis@ncleg.net, Chris.Malone@ncleg.net, Susan.Martin@ncleg.net, Pat.McElraft@ncleg.net, Chuck.McGrady@ncleg.net, Allen.McNeill@ncleg.net, Chris.Millis@ncleg.net, Tim.Moffitt@ncleg.net, Tim.Moore@ncleg.net, Tom.Murry@ncleg.net, Michele.Presnell@ncleg.net, Nathan.Ramsey@ncleg.net, Dennis.Riddell@ncleg.net, Stephen.Ross@ncleg.net, Jason.Saine@ncleg.net, Ruth.Samuelson@ncleg.net, Jacqueline.Schaffer@ncleg.net, Mitchell.Setzer@ncleg.net, Phil.Shepard@ncleg.net, Michael.Speciale@ncleg.net, Paul.Stam@ncleg.net, Edgar.Starnes@ncleg.net, Bob.Steinburg@ncleg.net, Sarah.Stevens@ncleg.net, Michael.Stone@ncleg.net, John.Szoka@ncleg.net, Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net, John.Torbett@ncleg.net, Rena.Turner@ncleg.net, Harry.Warren@ncleg.net, Andy.Wells@ncleg.net, Roger.West@ncleg.net, Chris.Whitmire@ncleg.net
DELIVER THIS MESSAGE
Suggested Subject: “Vote for concurrence on HB 937!”
Honorable Members of the North Carolina House:
Although a campaign by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association to preserve sheriffs’ power and money seems destined to send House Bill 937 (“Amend Various Firearms Laws”) to a conference committee, I strongly urge you to vote against any motion not to concur (i.e. to concur with Senate changes) as the best and safest method of guarding against wholesale weakening of the bill.
I will be closely monitoring this matter via Grass Roots North Carolina Alerts.