By Don Mallicoat-We have been reporting much lately about the Outdoor Heritage Act. But there is another Bill that affects gun owners, particularly those with a concealed carry handgun, moving in the NC House. It is formally known as the Second Amendment Affirmation Act, H562, or commonly referred to as the Omnibus Gun Bill. There are several provisions in the Bill for those exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.
Several provisions of H562 include: requiring the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) to insure transfer of firearms occur in a timely manner; clarify the exemption for someone with a permit for storing/keeping a firearm in a locked vehicle on public school grounds; improve the process for issuing Concealed Carry Permits and removing some exclusions; and remove a current prohibition from using short barreled rifles for hunting (which I’ve never seen a barrel length requirement in the game regulations). However, the most controversial provision of the Bill is to remove the requirement to obtain a permit from your County Sheriff to purchase a handgun.
Again, those nasty old facts get in the way of making a decision while several organization lobby legislators to keep the current permit provision. The fact is the permit requirement was instituted in 1911 and quite frankly is goes back to the Jim Crow law era. It was, and has been, used by Sherriff’s to prevent people whom they didn’t consider of “good moral standing” from buying a handgun. I’m sure in its 100 year history some Sherriff has used it as political retribution. Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe. But it’s a new world with great technological advances.
Currently, thirty-eight states use the FBI National Instant Background Check System (NICS) to do background checks for both handgun and long gun purchases. There is both a telephonic and electronic (website) available to Licensed Dealers to do those checks and it only takes a few minutes. As far as I know, none of those other states have had a problem with the criminal purchase of handguns more than North Carolina. The NICS is fed by information provided by local and state law enforcement agencies. So like most computer databases, it’s garbage in/garbage out. The current system in the Tarheel state allows Sherriff’s to bypass this system. The fallacy of this occurs in our mobile society when someone moves to another state and locally available data in NC is not in NICS which might prevent a handgun purchase.
My thought is that NC should repeal the permit law and use the manpower used to process permits to collect, collate, and submit data to NICS on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Also, the current permit law is applied inconsistently across the state. Some counties are more thorough in their use of locally available data. By setting up a structure to input data into NICS and holding local CLEOs accountable for doing so would probably be more effective in preventing unauthorized purchases. Based on what I’m hearing from Raleigh right now I don’t think this Bill will make to through the House and Senate. It barely made it out of committee and the Governor has indicated he will veto it. For all their talk about being freedom loving and being forward thinking in North Carolina, the General Assembly’s reluctance to repeal both this and the Sunday hunting ban shows they are still stuck in the early 20th Century.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is inviting public comments beginning June 1 on the early waterfowl and webless migratory game bird hunting seasons. The seasons include dove, woodcock, rail, snipe and those waterfowl seasons that begin prior to Oct. 1. Input on extended falconry seasons for webless species also will be taken at this time. Comment on proposed dates for the seasons by going to www.ncwildlife.org and clicking on “Submit Your Comments.” Comments will be accepted through June 21. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides the framework from which state fish and wildlife agencies select respective hunting season dates. After reviewing public comments, Wildlife Commissioners will select season dates for North Carolina during their July 16 meeting.
Just a reminder that Delayed-Harvest trout waters reverted to Hatchery Supported this past weekend and will remain so through October 1st. Also crow season opened last week on June 3rd and you can hunt them three days a week Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with no bag limit and no restriction.