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Amend bill banning roadside hunting

Published 8:05pm Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners are asking area legislators to modify a bill that would ban roadside hunting in the county because it doesn’t believe House Bill 408 is enforceable as written.

The bill was introduced in the N.C. General Assembly by Rep. Michael Speciale, a Republican from Craven County. The bill was filed March 21.

The wording of Speciale’s bill is different from the resolution approved by the commissioners in March. The resolution reads “that it is unlawful for a person to hunt, take, or kill any wild animal or game bird with a firearm or bow and arrow in the persons possession from, on, or near the right of way of a public road in Beaufort County.” The bill reads: “It is unlawful to discharge a firearm or bow and arrow, or to attempt to discharge a firearm or bow and arrow from, on, across, or over the roadway or right-of-way of any public road.”

“We need to check with the representative to see if the bill-drafting office in Raleigh changed it for some reason. Sometimes, they will do that,” County Manager Randell Woodruff said.

The board unanimously voted to ask Speciale, Rep. Paul Tine, a Democrat from Dare County, and Sen. Bill Cook, a Republican from Beaufort County, to reintroduce the bill after it’s been amended so that it reflects the language in the resolution.

“I think we need to put our … lobbyist on it, let him go around and have a conversation with him (Speciale), too,” said Commissioner Hood Richardson, who made the motion to have the bill amended so it uses the language used in the resolution approved by the commissioners last month.

Commissioner Robert Belcher said he considers the bill more comprehensive than the resolution.

“It says no one can discharge a firearm on the right of way, whether they’re hunting or not. Yours limits it to just hunting. Is that what you’re after?” Belcher said.

“That’s what we’re after, hunting,” Richardson said. “My first thought was the same as yours. I stewed on it for a little while. … The way he (Speciale) wrote it, it’s virtually unenforceable.”

The board also unanimously approved a resolution opposing Senate Bill 224 and House Bill 360 that would allow gun hunting on private land on Sundays if hunters had permission from landowners. The resolution asks legislators to defeat the bills.

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