Municipal limits an issue with concealed-gun law
CHARLOTTE — When North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill expanding where concealed weapons are allowed, it touched off a dilemma for communities that had banned firearms from playgrounds.
To comply with the legislation, some municipalities had to change their laws. While some community leaders have expressed outrage, gun rights groups say it's time municipalities follow the law — and they're watching to make sure they do. If they don't, legal action could follow.
“The days when local government bureaucrats can ignore state law with respect to firearms are over,” said Paul Valone, founder of Grass Roots North Carolina, a gun rights group. “We want these municipalities to comply with the law. I don't think that's too much to ask.”
The fight has been brewing for years. Opponents say it's dangerous to have guns around children, but supporters say concealed weapons help reduce crime.
The latest battle can be traced back to 2011, when the General Assembly passed a law that prohibited municipalities from banning concealed weapons in local parks.
The legislation included a provision that let cities ban concealed weapons from “recreation facilities” — defined as “a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool and an athletic facility.”
Some communities, including Asheville in western North Carolina and the Wake County town of Morrisville, approved ordinances intended to do just that.
But Valone said the cities overstepped their bounds by interpreting the legal definitions as broadly as possible.
“Unfortunately, what we found after that was municipalities for ideological reasons ... were actually torturing the English language to include as recreation facilities entire parks with hiking trails, greenways and other areas which were clearly not the intent of the General Assembly.”
So his group and others lobbied for changes, and this year lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Senate and House approved a bill expanding where concealed handguns are allowed.
The legislation allows concealed-carry permit holders to take firearms into bars, restaurants and other places where alcohol is served as long as the owner doesn't expressly forbid it. The bill allows guns on greenways, playgrounds and other public recreation areas.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Chicago cop charged with murder in killing of black teen
- Obama pledges solidarity with France
- Lawyer reveals details of arrest of ‘clock kid’ Ahmed, plans to file suit
- Healthy diet plan might not work for all, Israeli study reveals
- Nation’s $1 billion defense against biological terrorism faulty, GAO watchdog warns
- Obama moves to shore up allies coalition as rival Russia courts France
- Mars could get Saturn-like rings as moon falls apart
- Feds tell railroads they must meet deadlines for lifesaving technology
- 4 crew members dead after helicopter crashes at Fort Hood
- 2 men charged with murder in killing of Indianapolis pastor’s wife
- GOP seeks ‘pause’ in acceptance of Syria refugees