There isn’t much in the way of North Carolina approving legislation that would allow hunting with firearms on Sundays on private property, although locally the legislation is being opposed on the premise that is God’s day, when families should gather in church to worship.
But a new version of the bill, which was approved recently by the state Senate, appears to address concerns raised about a version of the bill previously approved by the House — and we no longer understand what is left that is objectionable.
The Senate version, which will now go back to the House, includes two new provisions that should make the bill palatable to those who have opposed it on religious grounds.
First, and most importantly, it does not allow hunting with firearms on Sunday until noon, so worship services would not be disrupted by gunfire, and people who want to worship God and kill deer on the same day would be free to do both. The bill also allows individual counties, beginning in 2017, to adopt their own restrictions concerning hunting on Sundays.
The legislation keeps other provisions that relate to the rest of the week, including prohibiting hunting within 500 yards of a church.
The bill easily passed the Senate in a 34-13 vote. The House, like the Senate, was also solidly in favor of the bill, voting 83-15 in favor.
In our mind, and for most outdoorsmen, hunting and fishing are hardly different animals when it comes to being allowed all week long.
Once it gets House approval, Gov. Pat McCrory would then sign the bill and, on Oct. 1, there would be only 10 states that continue to ban firearms hunting on Sundays.
We see plenty of upside to the bill, including providing a day for people who enjoy hunting but struggle to find the time Mondays through Saturdays, and the possibility of increased commerce — and very little to oppose.
As we expressed in a previous Our View, it is not the state’s business to use religion as a reason to prevent people from hunting on Sundays. In this great country, which calls itself the freest in the world, we should not arbitrarily take away rights from people based on religious beliefs they might not share.
We feel sure the bill will become law — and hunters locally can make their own decision. And if there is continued opposition locally, the county’s Board of Commissioners in 2017 will have the option of banning hunting locally on Sundays, if the commissioners at that time believe that is what the people want.
But honestly … what’s not to like?