Revised bill would make hunters with firearms wait until after noon on Sundays

Posted May 27, 2015

A bill that would expand the methods of hunting allowed on Sunday to include those who use rifles and shotguns cleared the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee on Wednesday.

— A bill that would expand the methods of hunting allowed on Sunday to include those who use rifles and shotguns cleared the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee on Wednesday.

The measure, which has already cleared the House, contains a number of provisions that its sponsors say will encourage youngsters to participate in camping, hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities.

"A little bit of dirt under their fingernails, a little bit of dirt from the outdoors on the soles of their shoes, might combat some of the dirt they're putting into their minds with a click of a mouse," said Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin.

While Dixon and co-sponsor Rep. Marvin Lucas, D-Cumberland, extolled the virtues of the broader bill, it was the provisions dealing with hunting on Sunday that garnered the most attention.

It is already legal to hunt with bows and arrows on Sunday, but this bill would allow for those using rifles to hunt on private property with the permission of the property's owner. In addition to having to wait until after noon, those hunting on Sundays would have to stay 500 yards from a place of worship, a restriction not in place any other day of the week.

Backers of the bill said they want to be able to take their children with them on weekend hunting trips. Cameron Boltes, of Beaufort County, has three children, ages 7, 5 and 3, who are not yet old enough to manage a bow.

"I want to take my kids with me," he said. "To me, time spent with my kids in the outdoors is the crown jewel of time spent with my kids."

Boltes said he was also in the property management business and had frequent problems with trespassers, who figure it's cheaper to pay a $25 fine than lease land. The "Outdoor Heritage" bill would revoke an individual's hunting license if he or she is caught breaking trespassing and other hunting laws three times.

The bill also has backing from the National Rifle Association.

Opponents of the measure said it would detract from the observance of the Christian Sabbath.

"The Dutch used to call this day the dike of God, the bulwark against the insidious inroads of secularism, materialism and even paganism. We believe this is the wrong road," said the Rev. Mark Creech, director of the Christian Action League.

Several eastern counties have passed resolutions opposing the bill, and some senators struggled with the idea of clearing the way for an expansion of Sunday hunting.

"When you and I grew up," Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union, told Dixon, "you didn't even mow grass on Sunday."

Lucas pointed out that there are already a number of sporting activities – from NASCAR to football to boating and fishing – that are allowed on Sundays.

The measure passed the committee on a voice vote and is now headed to the Senate floor.


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  • Paul Jones May 29, 2015
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    Mike, it is conservative Christians that built this great country. Just attended my son's military training graduation where he spent the past 5 months doing a heck of a lot of training 6 days per week. He was off on Sundays. The graduation ceremony was led with a prayer.

    When I was in school, 10 commandments hanged on the wall. We prayed and said the pledge of allegiance.

    You might not believe in God, but it most definitely was the conservative Christians that built this nation. There were smaller numbers of other religions, but it certainly wasn't atheism we have to thank for this country's accomplishments.

  • Lightfoot Williams May 28, 2015
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    Noon? Shouldn't it be more like 2pm? That way the Baptists can't get a jump on the Pentecostals that have to stay in church to around 1:30pm or so. :)

  • Anthony Snark May 28, 2015
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    Seriously? What a backwards place this state is.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 27, 2015
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    -Good for you Belinda, sincerely.
    My favorite inspirational says, "The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the bird for mirth, one's nearer God's heart in a garden, than anywhere else on earth." And I heartily believe that.

    Remember too though that their are times when it's good for us to be with like-minded believers - times of trial and jubilation, so finding others who believe as we do to fellowship with occasionally is also a necessary thing, not always for ourselves, sometimes for one of them.

  • Sam Nada May 27, 2015
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    Some politicians want to make church attendance mandatory.

    This needs to stop now. The slippery slope of government mandating religious adherence cannot be allowed to continue.

  • Belinda Warrick May 27, 2015
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    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I do agree that there should be no hunting within the vicinity of any places of worship. By delaying the start to after noon may or may not increase the likelihood of hunters going to church. It's a personal choice that the law will have no effect on. I believe in following Christ and serving God and no law will change that. Also I choose to worship God every day not just on Sundays but I try to keep Sunday as extra special. I rarely attend church services nowadays but I have learned more and become closer to God on my own at home. My home is a place where I worship the Lord daily not just on Sundays. When my favorite pastor, who taught the Bible instead of giving a weekly speech on their choice of topic, was transferred I no longer felt like I was getting closer to God and learning to follow Jesus so I decided to take matters in to my own hands and I'm closer to God than ever before and know Christ's teachings much more.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 27, 2015
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    I'm a retired minister, and I don't ever want any religion to be a consideration in any of this country's laws, because IMO, a true separation of church and state is a REQUIREMENT of taking care of the considerations and needs of ALL taxpayers - believers and unbelievers alike.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 27, 2015
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    While I don't hunt and would never wish to, apparently our legislators know little to nothing about animals, not knowing they go searching for food at the first crack of dawn. If they slept in until noon, they'd soon starve.
    AND that our legislators wasted their time (and our tax dollars) working on this instead of working to bring new jobs to NC or to improve the lot of the lives of children, the elderly and disabled, especially disabled veterans, in this state is a travesty!!!

  • Mike Jones May 27, 2015
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    500 yards from just a church? How about mosques, synagogues ect? Conservative Christians will be the down fall of us all.

  • Doug Smallen May 27, 2015
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    Present a bill with another stupid add on. I grew up in TN hunting on Sundays with only one restriction, no shooting within 1000 yards of a church!