by Karen Mehall Phillips - Tuesday, April 28, 2015
NRA 2nd VP and member of the NRA and Congressional Sportsman Foundation Boards announced his support of N.C. House Bill 640—the Outdoor Heritage Act—that would permit Sunday hunting statewide on private property. As chairman of the NRA Board’s Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Committee, the lifelong Tar-Heel-State resident made a formal statement on Apr. 23.
“While N.C. House Bill 640 allows for limited firearm hunting on private property seven days a week—the provision that has received the most press attention—I support the act because it protects individual property rights while also providing a wide range of outdoor recreation for our youth,” said Childress. “The bill will expand opportunities for young people to engage in activities from hiking to boating to bird watching.”
As for its economic impact, Childress added, “The bill will increase economic output and job creation, especially in rural counties, adding an estimated $311 million in total economic output. An additional 3,600 jobs with more than $94 million in wages will be generated.”
Childress explained the bill also creates a “three strikes” rule penalizing negligent hunters who trespasses on posted private property on three or more occasions. Those who do so would have their hunting licenses suspended for two years—a reasonable penalty for repeat, willful trespassers. In addition, the bill would exempt property owners from legal liability for any injuries to hunters to whom the property owner has given permission to enter and retrieve stray hunting dogs.
“It's not fair or wise to reward neighborliness with punishment for accidental injuries, as current law allows,” said Childress. “Our laws should encourage and reward courtesy, not penalize it. Both the three strikes provision and the injury-liability exemption provision are important and sensible protections.”
In protecting the future of the state’s outdoor heritage, Childress urges the General Assembly to enact HB 640. He asks that fellow state residents vocalize their support, regardless of whether they hunt on Sundays or attend church on Wednesdays and contact their local county commissioners and state legislators to express support for this important measure.
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