North Carolina –-(Ammoland.com)- The bad news is that the North Carolina Senate adjourned without passing House Bill 746. The good news is that the bill is still very much alive.
As you recall, HB 746 would give lawful North Carolinians permitless concealed carry, improvements in issuing concealed handgun permits (the system for which would remain intact for gun purchases, reciprocity with other states and carry in sensitive areas), expansion of concealed carry on educational property, and more.
Reasons for the failure of the Senate to pass HB 746 are complex, and I’ll discuss them momentarily. But first, let’s discuss the false claims by our opposition, which claimed the bill didn’t pass due to gun control input.
Nonsense. The dozen-odd “Bloomberg Moms” who showed up to protest passage of HB 746 in the NC House were like deer in the headlights. Despite the bitter viciousness of the left, they had no idea how to control the process. The pathetically small number of negative contacts they generated was ignored, giving them no influence on the bill’s progress.
Politicians did what they do best…nothing
The Senate, frankly, self-destructed on the bill. Without sufficient direction from leadership to chart its passage, Senate Republicans couldn’t agree on what they wanted it to contain – with a number of them wanting a stronger bill than passed by the House, calling for a pro-gun amendment to the North Carolina Constitution and repeal of the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit system. Others, including some devout conservatives, were hung up on the age 18 provision, or lack of required training.
Much of the failure should be attributed to failure in leadership by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. Although we received numerous reports that he supports the bill, he delegated responsibility to a working group of senators led by Sen. Andrew Brock (R-Davie, Iredell, Rowan) who, unknown to even his fellow senators, was likely distracted by his pending appointment to a cushy job with the state Board of Review. (He resigned his Senate seat effective June 30.)
In general, Republicans in both chambers dragged their feet on the bill. To be sure, there were heroes; in particular, Reps. Chris Millis (R-Onlow, Pender), Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), Michael Speciale (R-Beaufort, Craven, Pamlico) and to an extent, Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly) and Jay Adams (R-Catawba). In particular, Rep. Millis performed Herculean feats to keep HB 746 alive and to marshal votes to get it out of the House.
But among Republicans, now comfortable in their supermajorities and the districts they drew for themselves, inertia has set in. As I say in my legislative tactics seminars, once in power, politicians want to stay in power. The best way to stay in power is not to tick anybody off. The best way not to tick anybody off is, of course, not to actually do anything.
What’s next? Flogging pols, of course…
Having now cleared one chamber, and with a fiscal note attached, Rep. Millis has ensured the bill remains alive for consideration, possibly as soon as August, when the Senate returns from recess. Indeed, even if they don’t pass the bill before they adjourn “sine die” for the year, it remains alive for consideration in 2018.
And rest assured that at GRNC, politicians squealing, “We don’t want to pass it in an election year!” will be met with, “Then I guess you should have passed it last year.”
Indeed, the GOP has given us a whole year to plot strategy, strengthen the organization, and (metaphorically speaking) beat the daylights out of waffling Republicans!
North Carolina House Targets
In the NC House, the answer is fairly straight forward. Eight turncoat Republicans voted against HB 746 on the floor: Reps. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover); John Faircloth (R-Guilford); John Fraley (R-Iredell); Craig Horn (R-Union); Frank Iler (R-Brunswick); Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson); Sam Watford (R-Davidson); and Linda Williams (R-Wake).
We are looking for your help in recruiting ideologically sound opponents to primary these turncoats. (Rumor has it McGrady isn’t running for re-election, allowing us to fill the open seat he has misrepresented). Frankly, the GRNC Political Victory Fund will also need your financial support to run effective campaigns to beat them. The only exception will be if HB 746 returns to the House for a concurrence vote or a veto over-ride, in which case those who vote with gun owners may be spared primaries.
What about the Senate?
Unless HB 746 reaches the Senate floor before the end of the 2018 session, the (perhaps deliberate) lack of a recorded vote makes it more difficult to know which incumbent Republicans to target with primaries. But fear not, we are developing, shall we say, “informal” means for differentiating between friends and enemies, and the GRNC-PVF will be active in Senate races as well.
What about HB 746?
Remember: HB 746 is still alive, and GRNC is nowhere near done in working to make it the law of the land. Keep an eye on alerts for demonstrations in politicians’ home districts and each time they go back to Raleigh for the “special sessions” through the rest of 2017 and, of course, the regular 2018 session. Meanwhile, the GRNC Legislative Action Team will be working individual senators to ensure they will vote for the bill.
But first and foremost, we need your help:
- Your help in convincing your state senator to support the bill;
- Your help convincing Senate leadership to get it to the floor;
- In short, your input!
Reloading for the next fight!
This is the part where I, quite accurately, tell you how GRNC threw everything it had at the fight – at a time when we had not yet fully rebuilt resources from the 2016 elections.
It’s easier to ask for money when we are legislatively victorious, as in 2011, 2013 and 2015. This time I have nothing to offer except, as Winston Churchill put it, “blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
To pass HB 746, we need your financial support! Sending 1,000,000+ emails is far from free, and GRNC has made automated phone calls into nearly two dozen districts in order to move the bill.
If you have recently contributed to GRNC, please accept my thanks. If not, please consider $100, $50, $25 or even $10 to help GRNC defend your gun rights. Because GRNC is all-volunteer, we remain dedicated to using your money to defend your freedoms more efficiently and effectively than any other organization.