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North Carolina: Local Governments Continue to Restrict Lawful Carry in Public Parks

Friday, February 10, 2012

Some local governments in North Carolina continue to consider or impose unwarranted restrictions on Right-to-Carry (RTC) permit holders in the wake of House Bill 650 going into effect last December 1.  HB 650 was the omnibus firearm reform bill introduced by state Representative Mark Hilton (R-96) at the NRA's request.

Originally, one section of this legislation sought to remove the ability of local governments to restrict the lawful carrying of concealed firearms by RTC permit holders in parks under the control of local authorities.  That section was amended with language the NRA opposed that allowed a unit of local government to adopt an ordinance to prohibit, by posting, the carrying of a concealed handgun on municipal and county recreational facilities that are specifically identified by the unit of local government.  For purposes of this section, the term "recreational facilities" includes only the following: a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, and an athletic facility. If a unit of local government adopts such an ordinance with regard to recreational facilities, then the concealed handgun permittee may, nevertheless, secure the handgun in a locked vehicle within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or area within or on the motor vehicle.

On February 6, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners voted to impose restrictions on RTC permit holders in facilities maintained by Ashe County Parks and Recreation during athletic events.  While the details of this ordinance remain unclear at this time, the message is not. Some County Commissioners simply do not trust North Carolina permittees, in spite of the fact that they have proven to be overwhelmingly safe, responsible law-abiding ever since the NRA-backed RTC law was passed in 1995.  The vote this past Monday in Ashe County was 3 to 2, with Commissioners Judy Porter Poe, Larry Rhodes, and William Sands voting against permittees, and Commissioners Gerald Price and Gary Roark siding with law-abiding gun owners and the Second Amendment.  Please take a moment to contact those Commissioners who voted against our Right to Keep and Bear Arms to express your disappointment, and those who voted for your rights to express your thanks. Contact information for Ashe County can be found by clicking here.  

Meanwhile, the City of Greensboro will likely take up the issue of restricting the access of RTC permit holders to certain parks in the near future.  An article from local news outlet MyFOX8.com on February 8, reported that the Greensboro Parks and Recreations Commission has recommended the Greensboro City Council impose a ban on RTC permit holders carrying their lawfully-possessed firearms in parks with playgrounds and athletic facilities.  While HB 650 allows for such local restrictions due to the anti-gun amendment previously mentioned, it in no way requires them.  It is not clear when the City Council may take up this issue, but please contact Greensboro City Council members and urge them to respect our right to personal safety, and reject any prohibitions on RTC permit holders in any city parks.  You can contact your city council members by clicking here.

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