By Dr. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
May 8, 2015
Legislation that repeals the 145 year ban on Sunday hunting with a firearm passed the North Carolina House recently, 83-35. The measure, HB 640 – Outdoor Heritage Act, has gone to the state Senate for consideration. The bill currently resides in the Senate Rules Committee.
Here are some of the fundamental problems with the legislation:
- The legislation pits rural North Carolina against urban North Carolina. HB 640 exempts the more densely populated counties of Wake and Mecklenburg from Sunday hunting. But all other counties have to allow it. Lawmakers representing 30 counties in the state sought to run an amendment that would have allowed them to opt out by ordinance, but the amendment failed by a mere 7 votes.
- The legislation forces Sunday hunting on many counties that don’t want it. The measure requires all counties except Mecklenburg and Wake to allow Sunday hunting for no less than two years. If after two years, the counties wish to opt-out by ordinance they may. The sponsors of HB 640 argued the counties should try it for at least two years. Nevertheless, lawmakers representing many of the more rural counties said they had already heard from county commissions, as well as constituents who said they don’t want to try it to see if they’ll like it, they already know they don’t want it.
- The legislation will likely strain existing state resources for enforcing the new regulations. During the contentious debate on the House floor, Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin) argued the bill added more regulations so that people could feel as safe on their property Sunday as on any other day of the week. But Rep. William Brisson (D-Bladen) rightly argued that there weren’t enough Wildlife Resources officers to effectively enforce the new regulations. The Christian Action League’s consultation with some of the Sheriff’s in the state confirmed this concern. Some of the Sheriffs said it would likely be the county Sheriff’s Departments that would have to pick up the slack when their own resources were already seriously stressed.
- The legislation still poses a threat to the serenity and safety that rural church bodies across the state have traditionally enjoyed on Sunday. HB 640 requires that Sunday hunters be a distance of at least 500 yards from a house of worship and 500 yards from a residence when hunting their prey. But how can law enforcement possibly patrol such distances and guarantee churches won’t suffer violations? Although the legislation requires people to hunt only on private lands with written permission, who can guarantee the bullet from a high-powered rifle will stay on private land and not endanger church parishioners? One may argue that such a danger could exist any other time of the week, but the difference is that on Sundays people are gathered in mass at their churches typically unlike other days of the week – something that heightens the risks. And, most importantly, they are gathered reverently in an act of sacred worship. Moreover, there is nothing in the legislation that specifies a hunter shooting from a distance of 500 yards away from a church, cannot shoot at his prey which is less than 500 yards away from the church.
- The legislation weakens the value of “The Lord’s Day” to the culture. Churches perform an indispensable service to the culture in helping people build stable family lives, escape poverty, and develop moral character. People who attend church have fewer out of wedlock births, less drug and alcohol abuse, and less crime, etc. There are already innumerable activities that compete with the churches’ ability to make the strongest impact for our state and nation. Sunday hunting just adds another distraction to the list, providing one more venue to draw people away from nobler and higher pursuits, which are critically needed in these days of great moral challenges.
- The legislation ignores the 4th Commandment, “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.” The Ten Commandments were not meant to make life burdensome or difficult, but to protect us. God created mankind with the need for one day in seven for rest. This unchangeable principle of life not only helps mankind, but allows nature itself a reprieve from man’s use of the earth. The 4th Commandment states this principle in requiring a Sabbath rest for livestock as well. If our nation is to be blessed of God, we cannot afford to ignore His commands.
Big organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) are supporting and promoting this legislation. The Christian Action League believes the NRA is a great organization for protecting our nation’s Second Amendment rights, but they are wrong to support this bill. And unless you are willing to contact your own state Senator and let it be known that you oppose this legislation, IT IS GOING TO PASS!!!
Sponsors of the legislation have said that the only opposition to this bill is coming from the NC Sporting Dog Association and the Christian Action League of North Carolina. This is exactly the way it will seem, if you don’t do something!
Please contact your state Senator and ask him or her to VOTE “NO” on HB 640 – Outdoor Heritage Act.
Send your lawmaker in the NC Senate an email or leave a voicemail on their office phone. You can draw from the talking points made in this alert, but be sure to write your own email. Be sure to also tell your Senator your name and address so that they will know that you are one of their constituents.
If you don’t know who your state Senator is, go to WRAL’s Find Your Lawmakers and type in your address.
Once you discover who represents you in the NC Senate, if you didn’t already know, you might want to consider contacting them at home. Contacting your State Senator while they are at home over the weekend is an excellent time to speak with them about this matter.
Lastly, come to the North Carolina General Assembly and speak directly to state Senators. If you would like to join others in voicing your opposition to Sunday hunting, come to the North Carolina General Assembly to the front of the Legislative Building at 10:00 am on Tuesday, May 12th. The Legislative Building is located at 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. When you arrive you’ll be met by people who will share with you Room Numbers, Maps to offices of targeted Senators, as well as a Sticker to signify that you are present to oppose the legalization of Sunday hunting with firearms. We look forward to seeing you there.