Below is a statement from Richard Childress, a lifetime North Carolina resident, Second Vice President, Board of Directors Member and Chairman of the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Committee of the NRA and Board of Directors Member of the Congressional Sportsman Foundation regarding the NC House Bill 640; the Outdoor Heritage Act.

“Like many North Carolina property owners, I support (NC) House Bill 640, the Outdoor Heritage Act. While it allows 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. The bill will expand the opportunities for young people to engage in activities from hiking to boating to bird watching as passing on North Carolina’s heritage is becoming increasingly important.

“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 also be generated.

“A critical part of the bill is the creation of a “three strikes” rule for negligent hunters who trespass on posted private property three or more times. The state would suspend the violator’s hunting license for two years. That’s a reasonable penalty for repeat, willful trespassers.

“In addition, the bill will exempt property owners from legal liability for injuries to hunters to whom the property owner has given permission to enter the land to retrieve stray hunting dogs. It’s not fair or wise to reward neighborliness with punishment for accidental injuries, as current law allows. 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 for all property owners. For the future of our outdoor heritage, I urge the General Assembly to enact HB 640 and I ask my fellow North Carolinians to give their vocal support, regardless of whether you hunt on Sundays or attend church on Wednesdays.”