“Joby’s Law” Gaining Momentum

MONROE, N.C.- Do you and your animals have a right to safety on your own property?

That’s what this boils down to.

At a rally Sunday, about 30 people gathered to say yes, you do. Susanne Wright of Monroe is pushing for Joby’s Law, after her horse was shot and killed July 4th, in Susanne’s pasture by a neighbor’s stray bullet. The neighbor was supposedly target shooting through a nearby tree line, not far from homes, horses, and even a ball park.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office filed no charges.

Since then, Susanne says others have stepped forward with similar stories about their neighbors. Susanne says, “They’re scared for their safety. They can’t go out on their own property, they can’t work on their houses, mow their lawns, walk their dogs, they’re scared and I don’t blame them.”

Annette Smith of Wingate was in her back pasture in May when she says a neighbor’s stray bullet flew past her. She says, “That could have been my life that day. And I would not be able to enjoy my grandbaby.”

Kathy Starnes of Wingate is afraid to use her four wheelers or walking trails. She says, “We have found bullets on our property and it just scares us to death.”

Wanda Greene’s parents were inside their Indian Trail house when it was shot by a neighbor’s stray bullet. She says, “I am not against guns, but gun owners need to be held responsible where they are shooting.”

And that is a sentiment all of the people who talked with WCCB want to make clear: they are pro-gun, pro-2a. So is Republican NC Representative Mark Brody. If he is re-elected in November, he is likely to sponsor Joby’s Law. He says, “That’s what we’re trying to do. Make people responsible but not hinder their right to own or use their weapons in a reasonable manner.”

His opponent, Democrat Kim Hargett says, “I think there’s universal agreement that on your own property, your animals and you should be safe on your own property.”

Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, Minnesota and California have careless and reckless discharge laws. Florida has a law that specifically regulates outdoor shooting in residential areas.

North Carolina doesn’t.

Smith says after she called 911 back in May, deputies could only tell her to be careful where she walked. She says, “So my hope, in being here, is that someone will listen. And put some type of law in place.”

Joby’s Law is still in the research phase. Next, a bill will be drafted. Brody says the bill would, in part, require berms or backstops for outdoor shooting ranges. The bill could be presented to the legislature in February.