The latest gun bill in the General Assembly is pretty much what you’d expect from Democratic legislators representing the cities of Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte and Greensboro. Their Gun Safety Act would do for the Second Amendment what the Alien and Sedition Acts tried to do for the First: shred it.
This bill was brought to us by way of Reps. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe), Verla Insko (D-Orange), Carla Cunningham (D-Mecklenburg) and Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) ahead of the filing deadline this week.
The bill would repeal the state law that lets you defend yourself on the streets, limiting you to self defense in your home; repeal concealed-carry reciprocity with 40 states, curtail gun owners’ right to defend themselves while traveling; force you to screen people in your home to know if they are legally allowed to possess a firearm; require firearm liability insurance; ban commonly used magazines; and finally allow people to petition the courts to take away someone’s right to own a firearm for up to a year based on no real action at all.
In short, the bill is less a means of keeping anyone safe than a wish list for those that absolutely despise firearms.
Let’s look at how many ways this legislation whittles away your rights.
Right out of the gate this bill would do away with our state’s “stand your ground” laws, which ensure that you have the right to defend yourself in your home or at your workplace or in and around your vehicle.
As important, it crucially reverses the fundamental axiom that when citizens defend themselves with deadly force, the burden of proof is on the state to prove it wasn’t justified. In states where there is no “stand your ground” law, a person can be charged and must prove that their actions were justified. Here in North Carolina we treat the good guy like a good guy until we know otherwise — which sounds a lot like “innocent until proven guilty.”
But under this bill that goes out the window. People are limited to defending themselves only in their homes, not in their vehicles in dark parking lots at night or in their workplaces, where many people spend almost as much time as they do at home.
Note that in their workplace, legislators are well guarded by armed police officers.
Next up is a rider attached to a portion of the law that ensures that minors are not allowed unfettered access to firearms in the home. Unfortunately, the rider in the new law expands that same provision to anyone unauthorized to own or possess a firearm.
So under this bill you would get to have that fun conversation with people in your home that begins with asking, “Are you a felon?”
Going deeper down the rabbit hole, we reach the section that actually makes it a crime not to report a crime swiftly. Under this bill not reporting the theft of a firearm within 48 hours would become a Class 3 misdemeanor, and if you did it again, then you would be guilty of a Class I felony and lose your right to own a firearm.
Now we get on to the forced purchase of firearms liability insurance covering no less than $100,000 in damages and requiring proof of said insurance at any sale of a firearm.
I don’t even need proof of insurance to buy a car from someone, but these legislators think that it’s okay to mandate insurance to own a firearm.
The bill would of course limit magazine size to 15 rounds for most guns. At least my standard Glock 19 magazines are safe, and let people keep the ones they already have, but they could not transfer them to anyone in the state.
Never mind that the standard capacity magazine for AR-15-type rifles is 20 or 30 rounds and the standard magazine size for a Glock 17 is 17 rounds, as well as for many other handguns and rifles whose standard magazine capacity is more than 15 rounds.
And this wouldn’t apply to any state or federal agencies that used firearms of course.
The bill would also require the state to divest all of its investment funds from any firearms-related companies.
The legislation would require a review of deaths involving law enforcement officers, even though the State Bureau of Investigation is already involved in all of those investigations.
But now we get to my absolute favorite part of the bill, the section on “Gun Violence Restraining Orders.”
This section would institute a system where an immediate family member could petition the court to remove your right to own a firearm, and physically remove all firearms and ammunition in your possession, for an entire year, based on no actual action at all.
The legislation says that “in determining whether to issue a gun violence restraining order under this chapter, the court shall consider evidence if all the facts listed under subdivision (1) of this subsection and may consider any other evidence of an increased risk for violence.”
What the legislation considers evidence of an “increased risk for gun violence” includes recent threats of violence toward a person or themselves, violation of an emergency protective order or a history of threats within the last year, but the legislation does not require any evidence of the fact outside of the petitioner’s word.
In addition, the first section the bill lays out another set of “evidence” that may be considered, including “evidence of recent acquisition of firearms, ammunition, or other deadly weapons.”
So if I have recently bought a gun, some ammo, or a pocketknife, my wife, or brother, or mother or father can take out a gun violence-restraining order and I lose my Second Amendment right for a year?
In other words, exercising my rights would mean losing my rights. It would be as if hiring a lawyer would mean losing my Sixth Amendment right to defense counsel, or writing a letter to the editor would mean the loss of my First Amendment rights to free speech.
The bill even counts being charged with a felony offense as reason enough to issue one of these restraining orders – to repeat, not convicted, just charged.
I guess there goes that whole innocent until proven guilty thing.
But the legislation doesn’t limit the courts to that list of “evidence.” It gives the authority to go beyond those things, as we read in the above portion of the bill.
Taking it a step further, though, there is also a temporary emergency gun violence restraining order too, which can remove your Second Amendment rights for 21 days.
But it’s okay, though, because the court allows you one hearing to seek the dismissal of the gigantic infringement on your Constitutional rights.
I am tempted to just reprint the Second Amendment here and let that stand but it should seem obvious to the rational observer that a person’s right to own a firearm laid out by our forefathers in the Constitution should not be so easily swept aside by the pen stroke of a District Court judge with no other evidence than a family member accusing the gunowner of making a threat.
Taken individually, these pieces of this legislation do not make sense, but taken as a whole they are an all-out attack on the Second Amendment and that will not stand here in North Carolina and should not stand in any state legislature.
But I am confident soon this bill will be where it belongs, off of the list of active legislation. As for my copy, it will be resting in the shredder.
Fortunately for me, and the millions of gun owners across the nation, my right to own and carry my firearms in the defense of my family and me is not dependent on your distaste, discomfort or disdain for them.