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Law changed to allow firearms during emergencies

July 10, 2012
In North Carolina residents are not allowed legally to use deadly force to protect property. Deadly force may be used to protect oneself or others from imminent serious harm. But not so for property.

We posted an article last week in which we argued that in emergencies, such as in the aftermath of a hurricane, residents should be able to protect their property. You can read that article by clicking here.

We hold very little hope that the Castle Doctrine will be expanded to include the use of deadly force to protect property, even when law enforcement is not available to do so. While we think it is needed in extreme circumstances, we doubt it will happen.

But the last session of the Legislature did make a significant improvement in the laws dealing with emergencies. It revoked the provision in the law that allowed officials to ban firearms during an emergency. That provision was removed.

The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action recently issued the following report:
Last week, Governor Bev Perdue (D) stood with the North Carolina General Assembly in recognizing law-abiding citizens' right to self-defense during a declared state of emergency by signing into law House Bill 843. This common-sense statute will take effect on October 1, 2012. While the North Carolina General Assembly only had a short legislative session this year, this action marks significant progress on protection of Second Amendment rights in the Tar Heel state. Your NRA-ILA will continue to work for more improvements as the 2012 legislative session draws to a close.

House Bill 843 makes substantial changes to the North Carolina Emergency Management Act by adding critical language to the section of North Carolina statute that deals with what restrictions may be imposed during a declared state of emergency. Specifically, this bill states that the restrictions section "does not authorize prohibitions or restrictions on lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition." This means that, if there is a declared state of emergency due to natural disasters or other problems that create a state of disarray and unrest that requires emergency procedures to be implemented by a government entity, the rights of law-abiding gun owners will no longer be subject to possible suspension. The Senate added this critical language to HB 843 in the Senate Judiciary I Committee, and HB 843 as amended then passed in the full Senate on Tuesday, June 5, on a 49-0 vote. The House concurred with this common sense language by the Senate on the following day by a vote of 113 to 1 before sending it to the Governor on June 7.

Perdue signed HB 843. We commend her for doing so and to the 162 legislators who made this change to ban this unconstitutional restriction of our Second Amendment rights.

  1. reply print email
    deadly force should be allowed to stop rioters
    July 11, 2012 | 11:59 AM

    The racially tinged riots that swept the UK a year or so ago are an example of where deadly force should have been allowed by both law enforcement and civilians to protect persons and property. Often there is a fine line between the two. Rioters were setting buildings on fire not caring that there were people living in apartments upstairs. Some of those people only narrowly got our with their lives. Unfortunately, the law abiding citizens of the UK are disarmed due to strict gun control laws. Property threatening conduct was also life threatening conduct.

    The rioters knew that their victims would be unarmed so they acted with impunity. The police, likewise were unarmed. An armed citizenry who is able to defend itself is a bulwark against such lawlessness. One never hears of such riots in Switzerland where every able bodied adult male is required by law to have a miliary rifle at home. Any attempt at such a riot in Switzerland would be stopped in its tracks by well armed neighborhood defenders.

    Americans need to be able to defend out homes as it is often a very fine line between defending person and property. Perhaps a solution would be allowing the governor or even local government to declare a state of insurrection and if such declaration were made, homeowners could use deadly force to defend either person or property.

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