Commissioner Patrick Qualls presented the new proposals to fellow board members during today’s meeting.
The new proposals strip away references to the way guns are stored and transported. They also strip away an earlier proposal requiring a center-fired rifle to be discharged from a level at least 8-feet above ground.
The new amendments deal specifically with regulations prohibiting hunting on the land of others without permission and assurances dogs are properly collared and the collars include the owner’s name, address and telephone number.
Qualls said he hopes the meetings with hunt clubs and landowners can begin within the next couple of months. “This is to start the discussions with the hunting clubs and landowners,” he said.
There are eight sections to the proposals, the last section simply stating sections two through six apply to Halifax County.
Section 1 states it is unlawful to take deer, bear or turkey with the aid of any boat or floating device from or on lands adjoining the Roanoke River between the Roanoke Rapids Dam and the Halifax-Martin line. The same would apply to lands adjoining Fishing Creek from the Warren-Halifax line to the Halifax-Edgecombe line.
This provision would only apply on the waters of the Roanoke River and Fishing Creek and on adjacent lands in Halifax County adjoining the water’s edge on the southern side of the Roanoke River and the northern side of Fishing Creek.
Section 2 says it is unlawful to hunt deer or other wild animals with a dog unless the dog has a collar with the name, address and telephone number of its owner.
Section 3 says it is unlawful to chase deer or other wild animals with dogs or permit a dog to chase deer or wild animals between April 1 and June 30, which is turkey season. The prohibition does not apply to wild game pens.
Section 4 says it is unlawful to hunt or trap wildlife or attempt to hunt or trap wildlife on the land of another or to fish on the land of another without having written permission of the owner or lessee of the property in their possession. The letter must be signed and dated for the current hunting, fishing or trapping season.
Section 5 says it is unlawful to hunt deer, bear, fox or coyote with dogs without having a permission letter of the property owner where the dogs are released or allowed to run. The total area of contiguous property must be at least 300 acres. Written proof of permission must include the name, address and telephone number of the property owner and identification of the tract by its correct county tax parcel number.
Section 6 addresses fines, the first offense $250; the second $500 and the third or subsequent offenses $500 plus confiscation of all firearms in possession at the time of the third or subsequent offenses.
The National Rifle Association last month weighed in on the storage proposals in early versions of the amendments.
In an email to Qualls, Robert W. Carter Jr., a research attorney for the NRA, said North Carolina statutes address storage, saying “no county government may ‘regulate in any manner the possession, ownership, storage, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, taxation, manufacture, transportation, or registration of firearms, firearms ammunition, components of firearms, dealers in firearms, or dealers in handgun components or parts.’”
While counties can prohibit the possession of firearms in public-owned buildings,grounds or parking areas, public parks or recreation areas, “they cannot ‘prohibit a person from storing a firearm within a motor vehicle while the vehicle is on these grounds or areas’ or legislate how they are to be stored.”