Last Refuge Of A Liberal Scoundrel

If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then accusations of racism must be the last refuge of a liberal scoundrel. Accusations can come in both overt and covert forms.

For example, coming out and saying that Senator X is a racist or that some act that he or she committed was racist in intent would be an overt accusation. At least these accusations are forthright.

Covert accusations are much more insidious. They rely upon code words. Code words like Trayvon, Ferguson, and stand your ground.

So it is with the latest ad from Sen. Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC. Listen to the radio ad that they are playing in North Carolina aimed at African-American voters. Pay attention to the segment starting at 0:24 to 0:30 as captured from the airwaves by well-known North Carolina conservative blogger Sister Toldjah.

You heard correctly. The ad says, “Tillis even led the effort to pass the type of stand your ground laws that caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.” It doesn’t matter that Florida’s stand your ground law was not invoked in George Zimmerman’s trial nor that they confuse passage of the castle doctrine with stand your ground laws. It is still using covert accusations of racism to encourage black voters to turn out for Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC).

And to be honest, Speaker Tillis did not lead the effort to pass HB 650. It was Rep. Mark Hilton (R-Catawba) and Sen. Buck Newton (R-Nash). The best you can say is that Tillis did not impede the efforts to pass this omnibus bill that reformed North Carolina’s gun laws. Moreover, HB 650 was signed into law by Democrat Gov. Beverly Perdue.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) should repudiate this racist ad but we all know she won’t. She needs the “black vote” and Harry Reid will go as low as he needs to in order to secure it for her.

Rights Watch Files Park Carry Suit Against Winston-Salem

Rights Watch International, the non-profit arm of Grass Roots North Carolina, has filed suit in Forsyth County Superior Court against the City of Winston-Salem. The case, Childs et al v. City of Winston-Salem et al, is seeking a declaratory judgment and a permanent injunction against Winston-Salem over the city’s park carry ordinance on the grounds that it exceeded its authority, is unconstitutionally vague, and violates both the North Carolina and US Constitution.

The plaintiffs in the case are Rights Watch International and four individuals – David Childs, David Phillips, Shannon West, and Christopher Hjelm – who are claiming injury from the Winston-Salem park carry ordinance. The defendants in the case are the City of Winston-Salem, its Department of Recreation and Parks, Mayor Allen Joines, and Recreation and Parks Director Timothy Grant. The two individuals are being sued in their official capacities.

North Carolina, like most states, has a pre-emption statute that retains regulation of firearms as a state prerogative and limits what counties and municipalities may do. HB 650 which was passed in the last session of the North Carolina General Assembly said concealed carry in state, county, and municipal parks was legal. The only limitations that counties and cities may impose are prohibitions against carry in “recreational facilities” which were defined to be only “a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, and an athletic facility.”

The problem is that the city decided to play fast and loose with how they defined recreational areas and athletic facilities. From the adopted Ordinance No. 4735 which amended Section 38-10 of the Code of Ordinances:

(1) Recreational facilities include only the following: a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, and an athletic facility owned or operated by the city.
(2) Athletic field means a piece of land traditionally used for organized athletic or sporting event(s), including the adjoining spectator area.
(3) Athletic facility means a building, structure or place including a walking trail, greenway and body of water such as a lake for engaging in sporting events, recreational activities, fitness or physical training.
(4) Playground means a piece of land used for and usually equipped with facilities for recreation especially by children including the adjoining area and shelter used by children for respite, eating and playing sedentary games

Not only has the city stretched the definition of athletic facility and recreational facility, they have failed to fulfill their responsibilities by consistently posting the recreational facilities in which concealed carry is prohibited. Since it is a class 3 misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $500 to carry in prohibited locations, this is problematic for the plaintiffs and their desire to both obey the ordinance and to provide for their own self-protection.

All Plaintiffs have sought to determine where the ordinance does not allow concealed carry in the parks which they use, but have been unable to obtain a listing of the designated areas from the Defendants nor have they been able to identify the prohibited areas from posting in the parks due to the vagueness of the definitions in the Ordinance and the inconsistency or failure of Defendants to post restricted areas.

The lawsuit alleges that Winston-Salem, by their defining recreational facilities so expansively, has engaged in an “action in excess of statutory authority”. The suit further alleges that the city ordinances are “unconstitutionally vague in that they do not provide adequate notice to Plaintiffs as to what conduct is and is not legal and do not offer sufficient notice to prevent discriminatory and arbitrary enforcement..” Finally, the suit alleges that Winston-Salem’s ordinances violate the plaintiffs’ right to keep and bear arms because they operate in such a way as to be a total ban on the right to keep and bear arms.

The suit asks for a declaratory judgment saying the ordinances in question are null and void due to the above allegations. It further asks for attorneys’ fees and a permanent injunction prohibiting Winston-Salem from enforcing the ordinances.

Winston-Salem was chosen for this suit because their ordinance was the most egregious of all North Carolina municipalities which chose to post athletic and recreational facilities. They knowingly pushed the envelope and now they find themselves in court as well they should.

Winston-Salem (NC) Wants To Ditch The Park Carry Law

The City of Winston-Salem has been one of the most vocal and consistent opponents of HB 650 which forced North Carolina municipalities to allow concealed carry in city and county parks. Now, according to this alert from Grass Roots North Carolina, they are seeking to have the law repealed in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

Demands Repeal of HB 650 Expanded Carry in Parks…

Insensitively exploiting the recent evil mass-homicide within a “Gun-Free” Connecticut school, the Winston-Salem City Council announced a list of requested legislation they want to see from this year’s NC General Assembly. Among these demands is repeal of last year’s expanded park carry that was passed as HB 650.

Incredibly, the Council responds to murder in a “Gun-Free Zone” by demanding expansion of their dangerous reach within North Carolina municipalities.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines was quoted as saying park carry is “a mixed bag, and it’s confusing. The legislature pre-empted local governments’ authority to control local parks. I think they should leave that up to us.” Compliance with this law is as easy as permitting law-abiding citizens to carry everywhere. Left up to the Mayor, we would be unable to defend our families in parks. This type of endangerment can no longer be tolerated.

Council Member Derwin Montgomery claims, “local governments have a right to regulate the time and place (arms are carried)”. So according to the Councilman, a right that “shall not be infringed” upon can be “regulated”?

Perhaps Winston-Salem’s efforts are more-related to an attempt to avoid responsibility for violating the provisions of HB 650 and the resulting lawsuit pursued GRNC’s partner, Rights Watch International?

Either way, Winston-Salem has earned a reminder from North Carolina gun owners that we will not permit expansion of dangerous“Gun-Free Zones” in our state, and have no patience for municipalities that violate state law by infringing upon gun rights.


CONTACT THE WINSTON-SALEM CITY COUNCIL and let them know that you don’t appreciate their clear violations of state law and attempt to expand dangerous “Gun-Free Zones” of defenselessness within NC municipalities



Suggested Subject: Don’t make parks “Gun-Free” murder zones.

Winston-Salem leadership :

I am disappointed that you have decided to violate state law and continue to violate the rights of law-abiding North Carolina gun owners to defend themselves and their families in your parks. I am also disappointed that you are demanding that HB 650, last year’s expanded park carry bill, be rescinded. This important law decreases the area in which citizens are disarmed in our state. As we have seen with the increase in mass-homicides within “Gun-Free Zones”, places where citizens are prevented from being able to effectively defend themselves and their families are the most dangerous places in our society.

I urge you to stop your promotion of “Gun-Free Zones” in parks, and to embrace the common-sense expansion of freedom created by HB 650.


A City Council That Gets It

The Gastonia (NC) City Council voted Tuesday evening to allow concealed carry in all areas of that city’s parks. The vote was 6-1 and came despite a recommendation from the Gastonia Recreation Advisory Commission to impose a ban on concealed carry in athletic facilities.

The city’s 6-1 vote, with only Councilman Dave Kirlin opposing, went against a 5-0 recommendation of the Gastonia Recreation Advisory Commission. The commission wanted to allow licensed, concealed weapons in public parks, but to continue to ban them in the more specific recreational areas.

But Councilman Jim Gallagher was one of the six who favored a hands-off approach from government control. People with concealed weapon permits have proven themselves trustworthy and responsible, and imposing any restriction on them is unfair and unnecessary, he said.

“This is a slippery slope and it’s just going to go downhill,” Gallagher said of potential restrictions. “The second amendment is clear. Our founding fathers wanted us to protect ourselves.”

This is a City Council that gets it and one whose move to allow their citizens to protect themselves should be applauded. This statement by Councilwoman Brenda Craig who holds a NC Concealed Handgun Permit herself shows it.

“I agree with the second amendment, bottom line,” she said. “If people have been trained to handle that weapon and have their permit, they’re responsible.”

That is the key – CHP holders have been vetted, are responsible, and not the one’s you have to worry about. I just wish more city councils in North Carolina would realize that.

H/T Harvey

And In Local News…

Cities and counties in North Carolina have been trying to evade the changes wrought by the General Assembly since it passed HB 650. Particularly, they are bent out of shape over not being allowed to prohibit concealed carry by legal concealed carry permit holders in parks with the exception of clearly defined recreational facilities. Those include specifically “a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, and an athletic facility.”

Now the debate has come to the Town of Waynesville or, to paraphrase SayUncle, The Town (My The Town).

Town leaders including Mayor Gavin Brown and Town Manager Lee Galloway are working to amend Waynesville’s ordinance that prohibits concealed carry in all parks to one that would only ban it in recreational facilities.

The law passed last year prevents concealed guns from being carried in recreational and athletic facilities and schools. And, under the law, weapons are legally allowed in some formerly prohibited places such as bars and state parks. While the state tried to be specific where guns are banned, however, the verbiage is ambiguous in some respects.

“There are a lot of questions in our mind, ‘what is an athletic facility? Is a dog park an athletic facility?’” said Town Manager Lee Galloway during a meeting with town leaders earlier this month.

The town’s recreation center on Vance Street and the nearby baseball and soccer fields could be classified as athletic facilities and still ban weapons. The dog park, which is completely surrounded by athletic facilities, would also remain gun free.

With all due respect to Lee Galloway whom I’ve known well and liked for many a year, I don’t think a dog park was exactly what the General Assembly meant by a “recreational facility” nor do I think “greenways” were included as the title of the article suggests.

The article by reporter Caitlin Bowling of the Smoky Mountain News (a free paper) contains many errors including saying that HB 650 allowed firearms in bars and that the law “prevents concealed guns from being carried in recreational and athletic facilities and schools.” Concealed carry in eating establishments and restaurants (HB 111) has passed the State House but still not the State Senate. Moreover, HB 650 allows but does not mandate that concealed carry be prohibited in recreational facilities. As to schools, it was never on the agenda.

The Town Attorney has been instructed by the Mayor “to draft an ordinance even though a likely court battle over the legislation would leave a final outcome up in the air.” The court battle referred to seems to be an anticipated challenge by cities and counties to Section 21 of HB 650. Given that North Carolina state law preempts cities and counties from enacting their own firearms regulations, I don’t think it will go far.

The most telling point of the debate comes from Police Chief Bill Hollingshed when asked if there had been any problems with those Concealed Handgun Permits.

Police Chief Bill Hollingsed said he could not find incidents involving a permitted carrier using a gun at a sporting event or in a park.

“I can’t say that we have a big problem with this; we can’t find any city in the state that has a problem with this,” Hollingsed said.

The people that the town and police need to be concerned about are those who do not have permits but carry a weapon anyway, the town board agreed. The law will not prevent that individual from committing a crime.

“You worry about the people who are going to carry a concealed weapon no matter what the law is,” Hollingsed said.

I think Chief Hollingshed has the correct perspective on the matter. Moreover, given that there have been no problems with those of us with Concealed Handgun Permits, I think the Town of Waynesville Aldermen would do well to do like the City of Hickory and not put any additional restrictions in place.

Taking Liberties With The Law

When the North Carolina General Assembly passed the omnibus HB 650 which contained many changes in the state’s gun laws, they included a provision that would allow concealed carry in state, municipal, and county parks. However, thanks to an amendment by former Rep. David Guice (R-Transylvania) they allowed cities and counties to continue to ban concealed carry at recreational facilities if they so chose. Guice justified the exemption for recreational facilities by saying “I’ve seen firsthand the violence on the Little League field.”

From Section 21.b.:

A unit of local government may adopt an ordinance to prohibit, by posting, the carrying of a concealed handgun on municipal and county recreational facilities that are specifically identified by the unit of local government. If a unit of local government adopts such an ordinance with regard to recreational facilities, then the concealed handgun permittee may, nevertheless, secure the handgun in a locked vehicle within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or area within or on the motor vehicle. For purposes of this section, the term “recreational facilities” includes only the following: a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, and an athletic facility.

As can be seen above, the law was very specific as to what constituted a “recreational facility”. Moreover, the prohibition applies only to that facility and not to the park within it resides.

Unfortunately, certain cities within North Carolina have started to take liberties with this exemption.The latest to do so is the City of Greensboro. The Greensboro City Council will consider an ordinance amending their law on Tuesday. According to the supporting memoranda from city staff, they are construing the exemption to include the entire park in which the recreational facility is located. The ordinance itself is somewhat vague though given how it is presented by city staff I think it may be reasonable to expect they mean the whole park.

Grass Roots North Carolina has issued an alert on the changes in Greensboro.

Like some others, Greensboro is being rather creative in their reading of a clearly laid out law. The ordinance they will be considering Tuesday night takes the following interesting liberties with the new law:

  1. It bans whole parks which *contain* recreational facilities;
  2. Tries to say the legislature “changed” the word “parks” to “recreational facilities;” and
  3. It fails to specifically name the “recreational facilities” where guns are banned.

If we were too polite with the above, let us be clearer. These are the ways they will be BREAKING THE LAW if allowed to go forward with this plan. Now in the creative logic they are applying in reaching these conclusions, they may not even be aware that they will be breaking the law. It is up to you to make them aware of this.

They are asking for people to contact Greensboro City Council to make their displeasure known and the link above has a pre-written message.

I can’t say I’m surprised by the actions of the Greensboro City Council. I grew up in the city and it has changed significantly since I left it after college. Though I still own the house I grew up in, the author Thomas Wolfe was right when he said you can’t go home again.

North Carolina Cities Are Deliberately Ignoring The Letter And Spirit Of The Law

When the new omnibus gun laws went into effect on December 1st, one of the major changes was a provision that allowed concealed handgun permit holders to carry concealed in state, county, and municipal parks. An exception was made to allow cities and counties to continue to forbid concealed carry in recreational facilities which the statute defined as “includes only the following: a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, and an athletic facility.” The amendment with this weakening provision was proposed by Rep. David Guice (R-Brevard).

Many cities throughout North Carolina have chosen to amend their ordinances which previously had prohibited all firearms in city parks so as to continue to ban firearms in recreational facilities. Those that have not made changes will, for now, allow concealed carry in all parks and all facilities within the park.

Some cities have stayed close to the meaning of the law if they made changes and just as many have not. Probably the most egregious misreading of the law is in the city of Winston-Salem where they defined an athletic facility to include greenways, lakes, and walking trails. According to published reports, City Attorney Angela Carmon “said in public meetings that the state law did not define “athletic facilities.” The resolution approving the ordinance change is explicit in saying that they are defining the law as they saw fit.

Closer to me, the City of Asheville amended their ordinance on November 22nd as part of their consent agenda. While not going as far as Winston-Salem, it is obvious from staff reports that they made it as strict as possible.

This action complies with the City Council Strategic Operating Plan for Asheville to be safe and secure

• Continues, to the fullest extent allowed by law, the prohibition of concealed
handguns on City property.

• Potential difficulty in enforcement.

 Asheville defines recreational facilities to include:

Recreational Facility means a playground, athletic field, swimming pool, or other recreation or athletic facility, owned or operated by the City of Asheville, together with any appurtenant premises including, but not limited to, locker rooms, seating areas, concession areas, enclosed areas, parking areas.

I think adding parking areas to the list of recreational facilities is somewhat problematic and could go beyond what is meant by the law. Nonetheless, state law does allow a concealed carry holder to leave their firearm in a locked car or locked area within the car.

Grass Roots North Carolina which was one of the prime movers behind getting carry in parks is not happy with how municipalities are trying to bend the law. An alert sent out tonight says they will be initiating legal action and are seeking plaintiffs in the cities of Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Greenville, and Smithfield. They will be adding more cities to that list as needed.

Of course, the gun prohibitionists at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence (sic) are pushing cities to go even further in their defiance of state law. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times:

They have been under criticism from North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, which is urging local governments to ban concealed handguns at athletic facilities, a move Asheville has made already.

“You’ve got a lot of intensity (at these events), a lot of emotion and anger, and one or more people are carrying a concealed weapon,” Roxane Kolar, the group’s executive director, said Monday. “That’s just a bad recipe.”

Asheville, and at least 19 other local governments, already have responded by passing laws banning concealed handguns at athletic fields, playgrounds and recreation areas, such as swimming pools.

I predict that cities that have played by the rules and are conservative in how they define recreational facilities will be OK and those cities like Winston-Salem who have played fast and loose with state law will be slapped down. In the end, the taxpayers of those cities will be the ones footing the bill and, in the meantime, they will be ones who will be left to the mercy of criminals. The other prediction I will make is that the blood won’t be running in the parks other than for skinned knees and assorted athletic injuries.

Castle Doctrine Comes To North Carolina

The provisions of the omnibus firearms bill, HB 650, passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Gov. Bev Perdue earlier this year go into effect today.

This means that as of today, North Carolina has a castle doctrine that extends to not only to your home but to your vehicle and to your business. Moreover, if you are a visitor to North Carolina and you have a concealed carry permit from ANY state, it is honored here.

Sean at An NC Gun Blog has probably the best summary of all the provisions of the bill and it can be found here.

Just because we now have the castle doctrine doesn’t mean the fight for gun rights is won in North Carolina.

The right to carry in eating establishments and restaurants that serve alcohol (HB 111) has passed the House but not the Senate. It appears that the Republican leadership of the State Senate is dragging its feet on this one. The rumor is that they saw the results of some poorly worded opinion poll showing voters against it. The one word I’d have for the wavering senators is Lubys.

Carry in state, municipal, and county parks is now legal except for athletic facilities. The problem has come in how many towns and cities are broadly defining athletic facilities to include virtually the entire park including walking trails, greenways, and lakes. I’m afraid it is going to take a court challenge to cities such as Winston-Salem who have passed such broad ordinances to force cities to comply with both the letter and spirit of the law.

Nonetheless, this is a new day for North Carolina and those who worked so hard for so many years should be proud of what they have accomplished.

Four NC Democrats – It Is Good Enough For Them But Not For You

Section 22 of North Carolina Session Law 2011-268 – House Bill 650 provides universal reciprocity to any out-of-state concealed carry permit by the State of North Carolina. This was passed by the General Assembly on June 17th and signed by Gov. Bev Perdue on June 23rd. It goes into effect on December 1st.

Just as the Mecklenburg Declaration predated the Declaration of Independence so, too, does HB 650 predate HR 822 – the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. By approving universal reciprocity, the North Carolina General Assembly has granted the law-abiding citizens of other states who have gone through their state’s concealed carry permit process the right to carry in the Tar Heel State.

So why do four Congressmen from North Carolina want to deny North Carolinians the same rights and privileges that we have granted visitors from other states?

That is essentially what Rep. David Price (D-NC-4), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC-12), and Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC-13) are saying with their votes against HR 822. They think it is OK if someone from New York or Massachusetts or California comes to North Carolina and carries concealed with their state’s permit but we North Carolinians, rude country bumpkins that we are, should not be allowed to carry there because it might upset the anti-gun regimes in those states.

Sean pointed the hypocrisy of the Mayor of Carrboro objecting to HR 822 while North Carolina had granted universal reciprocity a few weeks ago. It is obvious that these four are of the same sort. 

Oh, they will disagree with this characterization but it is what it is – a kowtow to gun prohibitionists like Mayor Bloomberg. Fortunately, three other NC Democrats – Shuler, Kissell, and McIntyre – not only voted for HR 822 but were co-sponsors. So too were all the Republicans in the North Carolina delegation. I plan on sending each one of those nine a nice thank you note.

GRNC Analysis Of Signed Version of NC Castle Doctrine Law

Grass Roots North Carolina just released an extensive analysis of HB 650 – the bill that amended a number of North Carolina gun laws and strengthened the Castle Doctrine. They also named names as to who was helpful in the passage of the bill and who was an impediment. Finally, they examine the rest of the gun legislation that was introduced in this session of the General Assembly, what is still alive, and what is dead.


“The idea of a concealed-carry in an Applebee’s bothered people…” – Republican Speaker Thom Tillis, after restaurant carry language was removed from gun legislation which passed.

[Analysis] With HB 650 signed by the Governor and scheduled to become law on December 1, congratulations are due to all who responded to GRNC alerts by calling and e-mailing the NC General Assembly. Thanks are also due volunteers of the Legislative Action Team for many hours spent at the legislature, our Director and Co-Director of Communications for dozens of alerts, often sent with little notice, to our Webmaster for alerts promptly posted, to gun show volunteers for alerts distributed to thousands of gun owners and to all others who helped win this crucial victory. Once again, you have demonstrated the value of an all-volunteer organization in defending our rights.


As usual, politicians’ records are more checkered. Heroes of the General Assembly include Rep. Mark Hilton (R-Catawba, GRNC ****), who acted as primary sponsor for nearly all gun bills in the House; Sen. Buck Newton (R-Nash, Wilson, ****), who spent long hours restructuring bills to make them acceptable to leadership, and who delivered on committee hearings promised, House Rules Chairman Tim Moore (R-Cleveland, ****), for courage in giving hearings to bills not always favorably regarded by leadership, Sens. Debbie Clary (R-Cleveland, Rutherford, ****) and Andrew Brock (R-Davie, Rowan, ****), for working to support numerous pro-gun bills, Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow, ****) for his stalwart support in committee and during floor debates, Rep. Glen Bradley (R-Franklin, Halifax, Nash, ****) for introducing the “Firearms Freedom Act” and for supporting gun bills on the floor, and Rep. Kelly Hastings(R-Cleveland, Gaston, ****) for being the most tenacious Second Amendment supporter among incoming House freshman.


House Majority Leader Paul (“Skip”) Stam (R-Wake, GRNC eval. under review) worked to weaken both Castle Doctrine and HB 650, and then paradoxically voted for final passage of both. From his proposed committee substitute for Castle Doctrine to apparently orchestrating the McGrady amendment, which removed language for guns in locked vehicles at places of employment from HB 650 (during which debate Stam employed the bizarre argument that he owns everything which crosses his property), to objecting in caucus to bringing gun bills to committee votes, Stam worked to undermine gun bills in the GOP caucus.

Beyond the usual anti-gun Democrats, others who worked to subvert your rights included Rep. Deborah Ross (D-Wake, 0-star), who tried to insert a “poison pill” into HB 111 for parks and restaurant carry, Rep. David Guice(R-Henderson, Polk, Transylvania, GRNC eval. under review) who weakened parks carry by exempting certain recreational facilities, and Rep. Chuck McGrady(R-Henderson, GRNC eval. under review), who offered the amendment to remove guns in locked vehicles from HB 650. Perhaps most pathetic was Sen. Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange, Person, 0-star), who after initially being ruled out of order during the floor debate over HB 650, eventually managed to insert her usual anti-gun screed (albeit pointlessly) into the record, neatly lumping gun owners in with terrorists. Poor, old Ellie. She seems increasingly out of touch.


Frankly, we expected more from Republican leadership, specifically Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg, ****) and Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger(R-Guilford, Rockingham, ****). But it quickly became apparent that support for gun rights voters who helped “bring ’em to the dance” would be forthcoming only insofar as it could be done without sticking their necks out.

What resulted was a “thrust and parry” fencing match as we pressured chamber leaders to move gun legislation and they responded by adding and then removing bills from committee calendars, playing a “shell game” of inserting gun language into this or that bill, insisting on veto-proof majorities rather than simple majorities before bringing bills to the floor, and worst of all, removing items deemed “too controversial” from the legislation which passed.

What we got…and what we will

The result was, at best, half a loaf. We got the long-awaited Castle Doctrine, and somewhat weakened version of the parks carry GRNC has sought since 1997, and some other enhancements. Meanwhile, Tillis and Berger nixed guns in locked vehicles at places of employment, guns in locked compartments on educational property, and concealed carry in restaurants. The stated reason for the latter was poor polling on the topic. Said Speaker Tillis to the Charlotte Observer: “”The idea of a concealed-carry in an Applebee’s bothered people…”

The good news is that HB 111 – which contains restaurant carry – passed the House and remains alive for consideration when the legislature convenes next year. GRNC will be working hard on a campaign to pass it. As an opening shot, we suggest gun rights supporters contact Senator Berger and Speaker Tillis and tell them that what “bothers” them are Republican leaders who more or less immediately forgot who put them there.


Like other gun bills this session, HB 650 went through multiple versions, meaning that if you read it, you need to ensure you are reading the correct version. The one signed by the governor may be found at:

Section 1: Thanks largely to the diligence of Rep. Hilton and Sen. Newton, we got a fairly strong version of Castle Doctrine. A few of the main points:

Legal presumption of “reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm” if the perpetrator makes a “forcible and unlawful” entry into a home, vehicle or workplace. While a few other states cover vehicles, few if any cover workplaces. Note: This presumption is “rebuttable” in court. While that might seem like a weakening amendment, it is likely to help us by ensuring the law isn’t used with criminal intent. Among cases in which the presumption does not apply are against lawful resident of the dwelling, guardians of minors removing them from the premises, and intruders who are attempting to flee.
Immunity from civil or criminal liability in cases of a justifiable use of deadly force.
No duty to retreat in any place you have a lawful right to be.

It should be noted that Castle Doctrine does not apply if the “defender” provokes the use of force (with some exceptions) or if the person against whom force is used is a law enforcement officer or bail bondsman in the performance of his or her duties.

Section 2: Repeals old castle language which applied only in the home and which is now replaced with more expansive Castle Doctrine.

Section 3: Establishes or expands concealed carry for district attorneys, retired law officers and, to a limited extent, correctional officers. GRNC did not advocate this section, but did not oppose it as a “sweetener” to facilitate passage of the overall bill.

Section 4: Exempts from criminal prosecution people who accidentally bring guns onto educational property by adding “knowingly” to the requirement to be convicted of a Class I felony.

Section 5: Slightly modifies gun laws in and around courthouses. Most important to gun owners is an exemption allowing concealed handgun permit-holders to keep firearms in closed containers within locked vehicles.

Section 6: Reduces chances of minors becoming “accidental criminals” by adding “willfully and intentionally” to the prohibition on possession of handguns by minors.

Section 7: Changes flaw in current prohibition on possession of firearms by people under “50B orders” (domestic protective orders) such that although the prohibition on possession still exists, ownership is now within the law.

Sections 8 & 9: Resolves conflict between NC statutes with respect to ownership of Title II firearms regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934. Aligns NC law with 26 US Code.

Section 10: Adds additional identification requirements to existing law under which law enforcement officers purchasing duty weapons are exempt from handgun purchase permit statute.

Section 11: Makes it a crime to provide materially false information when purchasing a firearm, such as done during New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “sting” operations in other states.

Section 12: Brings NC law into compliance with federal law by allowing North Carolinians to purchase rifles and shotguns in other states, including non-contiguous states.

Section 13: Adds people who have received pardons to list of felons who may have gun rights restored.

Section 14: Makes technical and conforming changes to support other sections.

Section 15: Limits use of medical/mental health history data collected by sheriffs as part of concealed handgun applications.

Section 16: Makes minor change to concealed handgun permit application.

Section 17: Shortens concealed handgun permit application period from 90 days to 45 days provided mental health checks are complete.

Section 18: Deletes finger print requirement for renewal of concealed handgun permits.

Section 19: Removes social security numbers from concealed handgun permits.

Section 20: Makes technical changes to prohibitions on duplicating or altering concealed handgun permits.

Section 21(a): Reduces penalty for minor transgressions regarding permits (e.g. failure to have a permit on your person while carrying concealed) from, in some cases, Class 2 misdemeanors to infractions.

Section 21(b): Amends statewide firearms preemption such that local governments may still ban firearms “on local government buildings and their appurtenant premises,” but may no longer ban firearms in parks. Due to the weakening amendment made by Rep. David Guice, a local government may still ban firearms in specifically named “recreational facilities” (defined as playgrounds, athletic fields, swimming pools, and athletic facilities), but gun owners may still keep firearms in enclosed compartments within motor vehicles.

Section 22(a): Improves concealed handgun reciprocity to a straight recognition law wherein any concealed handgun permit issued in another state is valid in North Carolina.

Section 22(b): Expands concealed carry for district attorneys to a broad range of areas not normally legal for permit-holders.

Section 23: Amends firearms surrender for individuals under domestic 50B (protective) orders such that although the individual still may not possess firearms, legal ownership is no longer prohibited.

Section 24: Amends G.S. 50B to remove ownership from crimes punishable as a Class H felony.

Section 25:

Enables legislators and staff to keep firearms in vehicles on state-owned parking lots. Again, GRNC does not support privileges for elite groups, but did not oppose the measure in the interest of getting the whole bill passed.



The good news is that although this bill is dead, the language in the bill got a recorded vote in HB 650. The bad news is that, thanks to anti-gun opposition orchestrated by House Majority Leader Skip Stam (R-Wake, GRNC 0-star), the language was amended out of the bill.


Sponsored by Rep. Mark Hilton (R-Catawba, GRNC ****), after passing the House by a vote of 76-42 with a weakening amendment allowing municipalities to ban guns in recreational facilities offered by Rep. David Guice (D- , GRNC ), the bill headed to the Senate. There it was first referred to Rules – widely regarded as the graveyard for bills leadership has no intention of hearing. After negotiations with Rules Chair Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson, ****), HB 111 was re-referred to Judiciary II on the agreement that GRNC would wait for a hearing until after completion of the state budget. Although HB 111 will remain alive for next year, Senate Republicans are running scared from polling which reportedly shows lack of public support for concealed carry in restaurants. Meanwhile, parks carry has passed in HB 650.


SB 34, sponsored by Sen. Doug Berger (D- , ****) is the only one of these still alive, having passed the Senate and been referred to the House. However, nearly identical Castle Doctrine language has been added to HB 650 and passed.


Sponsored by Sen. Brock, this bill closes loopholes in our existing range protection law by offering “grandfather” protection to ranges forced to relocate by rezoning, annexation or development. Although the bill suffered a weakening amendment in the Senate Judiciary II Committee, essentially limiting range relocation to within the same county, it passed the Senate by a vote of 36-13, has been referred to the House Agriculture Committee, and remains alive for consideration next year.


Sponsored by Rep. Glen Bradley, this aggressive bill was patterned after what became law in Montana, and would have exempted from BATFE regulation any firearm manufactured and kept solely in North Carolina. Although the bill got a hearing, however, it’s time has apparently not yet come. The bill is dead.


Sponsored by Reps. Mark Hollo, Mitch Gillespie, Mark Hilton and Bert Jones, this bill allowed long gun purchases from other states, including non-contiguous states. After its contents were rolled into HB 650, the now-redundant bill was gutted and devoted to other purposes.


Patterned after the bill which recently became law in Florida, this bill, sponsored by Sen. Brock, would have prohibited pediatricians and others from probing for gun ownership among patients. Unfortunately, it never received a hearing and is now dead.

Paul Valone, President of GRNC, was interviewed by Stacy Davis of WRAL TV about the Castle Doctrine. Ms. Davis produced a balanced piece on the bill.

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