On March 1, 2021, North Carolina (NC) House Bill 189 (H. 189) was introduced in the General Assembly “to preserve the people’s right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution and Section 30 of Article I of the NC Constitution.” The bill identifies several Federal efforts to infringe upon the Second Amendment and the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own firearms and ammunition that must be blocked. They include:
- Any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services and that might reasonably be expected to encroach on or impair the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase or own those items.
- Any registering or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition that might reasonably be expected to encroach on or impair the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase or own those items.
- Any registration or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition that might reasonably be expected to encroach on or impair the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase or own those items.
- Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens.
- Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.
The act is to apply retroactively and deems the above identified federal actions as null and void in the State of North Carolina. If H. 189 is enacted, it will:
- Require NC courts and law enforcement agencies to protect the described rights of law-abiding citizens within State borders and protect these rights from federal infringement.
- Require any entity or person to refuse to enforce any federal actions prohibited by the act, or otherwise depriving a citizen of the rights and privileges of the Second Amendment or Section 30 of Article I of the NC Constitution.
- Permit injured parties to bring an action against the violator(s) and receive reasonable attorneys' fees and costs if successful.
- Bar sovereign, official, or qualified immunity as an affirmative defense in any action brought under the act.
Governor Cooper vetoed this bill last year. Will he do it again?
From our friends at the National Rifle Association, we learned that on March 2, 2021, NC Senate Bill 43 - "The Religious Assembly Security and Protection Act of 2021” passed with a bipartisan majority of 31-18. And, that NC House Bill 134, “The Second Amendment Protection Act,” was passed by a vote of 72-44 on March 11. Both bills allow “law-abiding citizens who hold a concealed handgun permit to carry a handgun to defend themselves and their loved ones when attending religious worship taking place on private property that is both a school, and place of worship, if it does not prohibit firearms.” As reported by the NRA, this empowers private property owners to set their own security policy, rather than the state imposing a one-size-fits-all solution.
We all remember the story of an armed citizen in 2019 who defended his church against an individual in Texas. This worshiper, Jack Wilson, was able to take action because of similar legislation in Texas.
The Christian Action League of North Carolina called on Christians to advocate for S. 43, stating that “[i]t’s unfortunate that Christians need to take up weapons to defend themselves at church, but it’s become a necessity at this particular time.” The presumption is that it also supports H.134. On the other hand, the North Carolina Council of Churches has written in opposition to S. 43. It is presumed also that they oppose H. 134, as well.