The move to end a centuries-long ban on hunting with guns on Sundays continued to advance through the legislature on Thursday.
The state Senate approved House Bill 640 on a vote of 34-13, and sent it back to the House to concur with a change it made: allowing hunting only after noon on Sundays.
Sunday hunting with firearms would still be illegal in Wake and Mecklenburg counties. An amendment to extend that option to let counties in the rest of the state decide was defeated.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Brent Jackson, a Republican from Autryville, noted the legislation imposes a two-year moratorium on counties passing ordinances allowing Sunday hunting. He said that would allow time to see how the change has worked, and then counties could decide.
Opposition came from senators who were worried that people could be shot because they are often outside on Sundays, or that Sunday activities should be minimized for traditional religious reasons.
"You cannot tie this bill to your religious beliefs," Jackson said, pointing out that it’s legal to do just about anything else on Sundays except hunting deer with a rifle or shotgun.