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Is Governor Perdue lying about North Carolina State of Emergency?

Since North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signed Executive Order 62, declaring a State of Emergency in the face of Hurricane Earl, a debate has ensued over whether N.C.G.S. 14-288.7, which restricts transportation of “dangerous weapons” – including firearms – applies to the many thousands of concealed handgun permit-holders, sport shooters and hunters who appear to be in violation of state law.

Both the office of the governor and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission have issued proclamations that EO 62 does not restrict lawful gun owners and hunters. Unfortunately, both Governor Perdue and the WRC are not only wrong, but by all apearances, willfully wrong. And below you will find out why.

Perdue faces a monumental problem: To get FEMA aid in response to the hurricane, she must declare a State of Emergency. Yet G.S. 14-288.7 is quite clear that under a SoE, no one but law enforcement officers and the military, during commission of their duties, may transport firearms away from his or her “premises.”

Worse, the governor’s party, under the direction of House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman, had no less than two opportunities when the legislature was in session to rectify the problem. Both HB 257 and HB 2031 removed the restriction on carriage of firearms during a SoE. HB 2031, in fact, was introduced after the problem became known when King, NC banned guns and ammunition in response to an impending snowstorm.

Then there is the pending litigation over exactly this issue, Bateman et al v. Perdue et al, of which my organization, Grass Roots North Carolina is a plaintiff.

Unfortunately, instead of admitting the problem and vowing to resolve it, Gov. Perdue is conducting a disinformation campaign to get people to believe it doesn’t exist. And in replying to constituents, the governor’s office has begun applying what can only be described as “big lie theory” as they have begun to carefully misstate the contents of EO 62.

SAYS THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE:

“…After checking with legal counsel, we are pleased to inform you that the current state of emergency was written in such a way that the rights of NC gun owners are not infringed upon. However, local authorities still have the authority to establish states of emergency within their jurisdictions that may impact your right to carry weapons.

“Dove season will open as scheduled on Sept. 4. The Commission’s general counsel has advised that there is no legal impediment to hunting during the current state of emergency.”

THE TRUTH:

Says Grass Roots North Carolina’s Director of Legal Research, Ed Green:

“On Sept. 1, 2010, Governor Perdue issued Executive Order No. 62 declaring ‘that a state of emergency exists in the State due to the approach of Hurricane Earl.’ Nothing in EO 62 mentions gun owners or the possession of guns in any way. Nothing in EO 62 purports to suspend the operation of any
NC law.

“NCGS § 14-288.7 clearly and unambiguously forbids the possession of any firearm off one's premises during any declared State of Emergency, with exceptions only for law enforcement and military in the course of their duties. Under NC law, whenever a State of Emergency is declared, no citizen
may possess any gun outside of their home.

“Even if EO 62 were worded (or amended) to expressly permit the possession of firearms, the governor has no constitutional or statutory authority to suspend the effect or enforcement of a valid NC criminal law. Once she declared a State of Emergency, Gov. Perdue legally disarmed all NC civilians outside their own homes, including the thousands of otherwise legally licensed hunters expected to take to the fields for the opening of Dove season at noon Saturday.”

SAYS THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE:

“The EO only delegated the power and authority to the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety necessary to implement the State's Emergency Operation Plan. The EO was written in this way mindful of the current lawsuit related to GS. 14-288.7. Implementation of the State's Emergency Operation Plan does not require that G.S. 14-288.7 be enforced.”

THE TRUTH:

From counsel Ed Green:

“EO 62 was NOT written mindful of Gura's lawsuit. The language delegating authority "for the purpose of implementing the State Emergency Operation Plan" is IDENTICAL to language in EO 7 (1/20/09), EO 27 (10/28/09), EO 30 (11/16/09), and EO 47 (1/30/10), all declaring states of emergency (mostly for snow). See http://www.governor09.nc.gov/NewsItems/ExecutiveOrderList.aspx

Moreeover, EO 62 does not say merely that “the State’s Emergency Operation Plan” is being implemented, it says:

“EXECUTIVE ORDER NO.62
PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY
BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
DUE TO HURRICANE EARL”

Meanwhile, G.S. 14-288.7 says: “it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area…[i]n which a declared state of emergency exists…”

BIG LIE THEORY IN PRACTICE

The most bald-faced lie told by the governor, however, is this:

“You have asked whether G.S. 14-288.7 applies to the state of emergency declared in Executive Order 62 due to Hurricane Earl. Executive Order 62 was issued pursuant to the Governor’s authority under the North Carolina Emergency Management Act, Chapter 166A of the General Statutes and not pursuant to her authority under Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes. [Emphasis added]

“Executive Order 62 did not trigger the provisions of G.S. 14-288.7, and there was never any intention by the issuance of Executive Order 62 to restrict the transportation or possession of off-premises firearms. "

THE TRUTH

Now contrast that with Section 3 of EO 62, the declaration of State of Emergency, which clearly contains what they claim is not there:

“Section 3.

“I delegate to Reuben F. Young, Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, or his designee, all power and authority granted to me and required of me by Article 1 of Chapter 166A of the General Statutes and Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes for the purpose of implementing the State’s Emergency Operations Plan and to take such further action as is necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the populace in North Carolina.” [Emphasis added]

That would be the same Article 36 A, Chapter 14 which contains the definition of “state of emergency,” the definition of “dangerous weapon” to include firearms and, yes, G.S. 14-288.7, the ban on transporting dangerous weapons during states of emergency.

FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL:

But don’t take my word for it. Ask NC Attorney General Roy Cooper who, together with gun law expert John J. Aldridge III, wrote a 46-page tome entitled “North Carolina Firearms Laws,” in which they say:

“It is also a misdemeanor under North Carolina law for a person to transport or possess, off his or her own premises, a dangerous weapon in an area during a declared state of emergency, or in the vicinity of a riot. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-288.7 A concealed handgun permit does not allow a permittee to carry a weapon in these areas. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.11(c)”

THE HOLLIMAN / PERDUE GUN BAN

If the Holliman/Perdue gun ban contained in EO 62 continues to be in effect on Saturday, when North Carolina dove season opens, thousands of hunters will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 120 days in jail. Short of rescinding EO 62, nothing Perdue or anyone else can do will change that.

It would be politically untenable for the state to prosecute any of these people, of course. But in living under the shadow of selective prosecution, North Carolina gun owners now exist at the convenience and on the good graces of Queen Beverly, who has taken your right to bear arms, and turned it into a privilege.
 

Comments

  • Grigori Rasputin 3 years ago

    I hope in 2012, the citizens of North Carolina take the opportunity to unseat Governor Perdue and all Legislators who supported verbiage in the law which restricts lawful possession of firearms when away from one's property during a State of Emergency. Such stupidity is inexcusable on the part of any elected or public official.

  • Grigori Rasputin 3 years ago

    I hope in 2012, the citizens of North Carolina take the opportunity to unseat Governor Perdue and all Legislators who supported verbiage in the law which restricts lawful possession of firearms when away from one's property during a State of Emergency. Such stupidity is inexcusable on the part of any elected or public official.

  • AinTellin 3 years ago

    uh oh, i think we elected a dictator

  • John G. 3 years ago

    The GRNC emails were a bit confusing, this article is right on the money. Basically G.S. 14-288.7 needs to be reworded to not be so ridiculous.

    I'm sure she doesn't understand how the law affects hunters or anyone else, which is grounds enough to vote her out in my book. I can't say that she's being malicious, but I can't stand her anyway so let's move on - down with Purdue.

  • Michael Honeycutt 3 years ago

    Another great, informative article Mr. Valone.
    Many thanks for the heads-up on this issue.
    It's ridiculous when a boy scout like me becomes a criminal because of something stupid like this.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    “it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area…"

    The gasoline in my car is a "dangerous substance" if an open flame is near. Time to re-evaluate these 1950's jim crow laws.

  • Oamaam 3 years ago

    OK so there's a storm coming and if I evacuate I cant take my guns? WTH? Ok so I'll stay and ride the storm out and sue the state government because of the "Brain Polluting" Gun activist's that taunt both state & federal government with there stupidity. Come on people this is not the NC I knew when I was stationed there? The wife and I were thinking of retiring down there, but from reading stupid stuff like this and hearing that the Cost of living is just as high as NY , think its time to give it a second look see.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    "the governor has no constitutional or statutory authority to suspend the effect or enforcement of a valid NC criminal law."
    Nor does she have any authority to suspend the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the US or Sec. 30 of the NC State Constitution, regardless of what NC criminal law may say.
    She may have the authority to suspend CCW. The NC State Constitution & state law do provide for that, and at this time, the SCOTUS has not ruled that the RKBA includes the right to concealed carry in public.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    North Carolina needs to send that Collectivist packing in the next election. Its absurd to disarm people when they need firearms the most.

  • repeal1968guncontrolact 3 years ago

    The most damning statement in this VERY well written article is in the last paragraph:

    "living under the shadow of selective prosecution"

    The governor's office can twist, lie, and avoid the truth all they want, but this all boils down to selective prosecution, and is very evil. The governor should call a special session immediately and get HB 2031 PASSED.

    The phrase "big lie" is 100% accurate. It's like how all the states lie about the supposed requirement that everyone get a commercial drivers license, by refusing to admit that your drivers license is actually a commercal license. The law is clear in each state, yet just like in this case, government pretends that legal realities aren't there. Government likes to repeat the distortion that "driving is a privilege not a right," knowing full well that most citizens are not legally educated enough to say "but we're talking about TRAVELING not driving, there is a legal difference. Driving is defined under statute as operating a motor vehicle, which is defined as a commercial vehicle." Government bullies people into declaring their car to be a "motor vehicle" knowing full well that ONCE YOU HAVE DECLARED IT SUCH, then legally it is a "motor vehicle" (which again, is defined by statute as a commercial vehicle). Legally speaking a car with license plates is the same as a business vehicle. The public is purposefully not educated about the law in order to get them to declare themelves into a class of activity that can be regulated and taxed more. Talk about evil.

    This article is thorough, clear, accurate, and very damning. We must not allow our elected officials to lie about what the law says.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    This cannot be constitutional. It defies common sense as a storm in the East affects the hunters' rights 250 miles to the West. Why not declare an emergency for 4 or 10 years, then use that as an excuse to take guns from people and lock the the people up? You NC'er's are plain stupid to have laws like this.

  • DaveP. 3 years ago

    I live in North Carolina, and even on the day Ms. Perdue made her decision the hurricane in question was not expected to affect any but a small slice of coastal NC... here in the Triad, about in the middle of the state, the ten-day forecast was (and still is) for clear and sunny weather. Governor Perdue issued a weather state of emergency for the whole state, 90% of which was likely to face no danger worse than getting a sunburn while mowing the grass.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    Good article. Of course the Governor lied - she is a politician and her mouth was moving.

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