Sunday hunting measure tweaked again for church

Posted June 18, 2015

— A measure that would expand the types of legal hunting on Sundays is one vote away from heading to the governor after lawmakers made more adjustments to it to placate churchgoers.

House Bill 640, the Outdoor Heritage Act, includes a number of provisions designed to foster interest in outdoor activities. But debate over the measure has focused on a section that would allow people to hunt with rifles and shotguns on Sundays.

When the House initially approved the bill in April, there were no time restrictions on Sunday hunting, but the Senate last month decided to prohibit the activity until after noon when opponents said hunting in the morning would undercut the tradition of setting aside Sunday for church and family.

The House rejected Senate adjustments to the bill, and a conference committee hammered out a compromise in recent days.

Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, said Thursday that, because most rural churches have Sunday services from 10 a.m. until noon, lawmakers agreed to carve out 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. as a no-hunting period, except on existing hunting preserves that are at least 500 yards away from any place of worship.

Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, asked that time during Sunday afternoons also be set aside for funerals. Dixon said further changes to the bill weren't possible under legislative rules.

"It's a serious issue, but if you look at the past, the hunting community has been sensitive to those things," Dixon said, adding that lawmakers could revisit the issue later.

Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, complained that Sunday hunting is still prohibited in Wake and Mecklenburg counties under the bill, while any other county that wants to restrict it must wait until October 2017 to opt out of the bill.

Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, said he still objected to any hunting on Sunday and urged House members to reject the compromise bill.

The conference report was adopted by an 88-26 vote. The Senate is scheduled to vote on it on June 23. If approved there, it would head to Gov. Pat McCrory.


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  • Mark Cline Jun 21, 2015
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    Theocracy is a form of government where priests rule.

    We still have a democracy, barely. Though we are more of an oligarchy since we take the decisions of elected officials, and the electorate, to judges for final determination.

    Therefore, it is the judges who rule the country. We are a democratic republic in name only.

    If elected officials make decisions based upon the values of the people who elected them, and those values are based on religious values held by the majority of voters, then the result will be skewed toward those religious values. Be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or whatever, it is a reflection of the will of the people.

    If you don't know what I'm talking about, that doesn't mean that I don't know what I'm talking about.

  • Mark Cline Jun 21, 2015
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    Some people are a lot better at expressing their opinions than they are at reading and comprehending.

  • David Bunn Jun 19, 2015
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    No reason at all I should not be able to hunt everyday of season with my choice of weapon on my own land. And really no one's business.

  • Doug Roach Jun 19, 2015
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    Apparently it's now so much more important to be able to blow things away on Sunday than it is to vote.
    Those clowns in Raleigh never cease to amaze with their lunatic legislation.

  • Ty Rammstein Jun 19, 2015
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    laughing out loud... this proves that the religious lobby is stronger than the gun lobby. just shows how the G O P prioritizes. why not just sell guns and hunting permits in the church parking lot??? i am so sorry for us in NC now..

  • Melissa Noderer Jun 19, 2015
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    "You want your cake, and eat it, too! It's not about the sacred institutions of our Constitution. It's about the power of the liberals to have it their way and claim the Constitution as they want it."

    What in heavens name are you talking about? This "liberal and Christian" doesn't really care when folks hunt--just stay away from populated areas. What I have a problem with is our General Assembly writing laws with the clear intent to impose their religious beliefs on the citizens of NC. Just as I would not want Buddhism; Muslim; Wicca; Paganism; Judaism etc forced down my throat by any legislative body, I am appalled when the legislators force their Christian beliefs through legislation. Separation of Church and State is not alive and well in NC. It is becoming a Theocracy
    "Theocracy" is a form of government which defers not to civil development of law, but to an interpretation of the will of a God as set out in religious scripture and authorities.

  • Todd Whitmer Jun 19, 2015
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    And they wonder why the only people taking then seriously are themselves. Actually they're so delusional and disconnected these "legislators" don't understand how irrelevant this hunting bullsplat really is...

  • Chad Burnham Jun 19, 2015
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    Not everyone who is a hunter goes to church. What a ridiculous waste of time provision to this bill.

  • Tammy Rush Jun 18, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    "We have allowed conscientious objectors to opt out of combat service as members of the military, but do not wish to allow magistrates to opt out of performing duties that go against their personal beliefs."

    That's a false equivalency. Conscientious objectors object to potentially having to kill people in combat, but magistrates are not being forced to get same-sex married. They are simply officiating the ceremonies for other people which is part of their job.

    "The church doesn't want hunters to hunt because they should go to church, instead."

    The fewer people in the congregation, the less money in the offering plate. That's what I think this is about.

    "You want your cake, and eat it, too! It's not about the sacred institutions of our Constitution. It's about the power of the liberals to have it their way and claim the Constitution as they want it."

    Yeah, I'm sure it's the LIBERALS who are kowtowing to the church...

  • Steve Faulkner Jun 18, 2015
    user avatar

    If we truly have separation of church and state, why was hunting banned on Sunday in the first place??