Don Mallicoat

Gun Control Legislation in the NC General Assembly

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By Don Mallicoat –

If you keep up with things happening in the country about gun control legislation you have probably heard about the cascade of gun control bills passing through state general assemblies. So far (and there may be more) we have new gun control laws in New York, Colorado, Connecticut, and Maryland. Other states such as Maine, Rhode Island, and New Jersey are following suit. But did you know there is a Bill in the NC House called the Gun Safety Act?

Before I start another gun/ammo buying panic let me say I don’t think this bill has a snowballs change of becoming law. It is House Bill 976 and none other than our own Susan Fisher of Buncombe County is listed as a Co-Sponsor. I’ve read through most of the bill’s provisions and it is like a dream list of the national gun control advocacy groups. It includes repeal of the Castle Doctrine, magazine limits, ban on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSR) commonly referred to by these groups as assault weapons. It also calls for universal background checks by a Federal Firearms Licensee on all gun transfers. Yeah, it is a real humdinger. My guess is that it is boiler plate legislation sent down from the national gun control groups to try and pass in each state.

Unfortunately the way our General Assembly works there is nothing that prevents a bill from being proposed. But it can sure die a quick death in committee and that’s what this one deserves and will likely receive. I’ve already written my representative although I haven’t heard back yet. Might be worth a quick email to your House representative. Let’s kill this thing as quickly as possible.

Turkey season officially ends this weekend, May 11th. And as usual, as of this writing, I haven’t even been in the woods. I’ve got invitations to hunt three different private properties. I’m not going to make excuses. Just a hectic work schedule and spending free time getting ready for a big family get together this weekend. I’ve hearing mixed reports from hunters at the store. Some are having no problems finding and killing turkeys. Others haven’t seen the first tom. One thing I’ve consistently heard is that toms are not gobbling as much this year. The only answers we can come up with in our non-scientific discussions is the weird weather, i.e. cold temperatures and rain, have really thrown them off their normal spring pattern. I will try to sneak out one to two times the last week. That’s the thing about hunting, you always have eternal optimism.

I mentioned in my legislation report a couple of weeks ago about the Hunter Apprentice Bill co-sponsored by Tim Moffitt of Buncombe County. Dual Families Afield bills in the General Assembly–House Bill 296, sponsored by Representative John Bell (R-Goldsboro), and Senate Bill 234, sponsored by E.S. Buck Newton (R-Wilson)—are one step closer to becoming law. The companion measures would create a Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permit to allow new hunters to try hunting under the guidance of a licensed adult mentor before taking hunter education.

Last week, House Bill 296 passed out of the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate Bill 234 passed out of the Senate. Both bills passed with unanimous support. Because both chambers passed their own version of the identical bills, either the House or the Senate will still need to pass the opposite chambers bill before it heads to the governor’s desk.

“These measures are extremely important for the future of hunting and getting new folks into our ranks,” said Evan Heusinkveld, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Director of Government Affairs. “Apprentice hunting is not only successful at recruiting and retaining new hunters, but it’s also been shown to be approximately 5-times safer than the general hunting population because of the mentorship requirement.”

If passed, North Carolina would become the 35th state to pass Families Afield legislation making it easier to pass along our great hunting heritage. My only question is: Why are we 35th and not in the top 25 in the country. The Families Afield initiative was established by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the National Wild Turkey Federation to bring a new generation of sportsmen to the field. Along with the National Rifle Association and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the coalition has worked to pass measures in 34 states with more than one million apprentice licenses sold since the program’s inception.

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