Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's Up With Alamance County

Alamance County, North Carolina is considering a ban on all firearms in county buildings. Currently, only concealed weapons are banned. However, they are reacting to two non-incidents where an open carrier went in to pay their tax bills at the Tax Collector's Office.

These individuals went in, paid their bills, and left. They were not like some open carry protesters carrying a slung shotgun or rifle but merely carrying a pistol on their hip. Open carry has been legal in North Carolina since the early 1920s based  upon the North Carolina Supreme Court case of State v. Kerner.

Grass Roots North Carolina has issued an alert on the moves by county commissioners to consider the ban.

The Times-News is reporting that Alamance County Commissioners are considering a comprehensive gun ban in County Buildings. Not known for being an anti-Second Amendment group, it may seem perplexing that Alamance County leaders would consider such a thing. Apparently, the discussion springs from a couple of recent incidents that are only remarkable in the fact that they are not “incidents” at all.

On a couple of occasions, citizens going about their daily business had stopped in to county offices to pay their taxes. While doing so, they happened to be open-carrying firearms. There has been no suggestion that the citizens acted strangely or threateningly in any way, and it’s worth noting that it is perfectly legal to open-carry in Alamance County buildings. To summarize the situation: no incident occurred, and no laws were broken. However, to be fair, it should be noted that some taxes were paid. So, where’s the problem?

It’s reported that some county employees expressed that they were “scared” by the presence of the lawfully armed citizens paying their taxes. So now, based on the feelings of a few individuals, the Commissioners are considering an all-out gun ban. That would be a gun ban on the very property that is funded by the taxes that these citizens came in to pay. The irony is striking.

When asked about the non-incidents, Sheriff Terry Johnson stated:

“I am a believer in a man’s right to bear arms, but you don’t walk into a county building with a gun strapped on the side of you.”
> Which is it? Do the people have the right to bear arms, or don’t they? If Sheriff Johnson truly believes in that right, and intends to honor his oath to protect it, you’d think that he would be incensed that the County Commissioners would even consider a gun ban. One might even point out that Sheriff Johnson himself frequents county buildings, presumably with a gun strapped on his side. The irony is snowballing.

Unfortunately, Alamance County buildings are already posted against concealed carry, which means there is only one option left for citizens to legally bear arms if they need to pass through that particular public space. An additional restriction, one on open-carry, would establish a de facto 100% gun ban, and that would surely call into question Sheriff Johnson’s and the Commissioners’ commitment to the rights of the citizens they serve. However foolish and ineffective it may be, property owners have every right to ban guns from their private lands and structures. Such is the nature of private ownership. However, if there is any place where the Bill of Rights is clearly applicable, and ought to be non-negotiable, it is on public property. County officials are elected and hired to serve the citizens of the county. It is the citizen who has the right to bear arms, and he or she has the right to do so primarily on public property, for the very reason that it is public—the citizens own it. If the County Commissioners claim the authority to infringe on this right, one can only wonder what’s next.

A gentle prompting may be needed to nudge the Alamance County Commissioners in the right direction. Surely, once they hear from their supervisors (the people), they will recall what it is they are charged with protecting, and whom they are charged with serving. Below, you’ll find contact information and a message that can be used to communicate your concerns to the County Commissioners.


E-mail the Alamance County Commissioners. Below you will find a recommended e-mail message you can use. Also, under ‘Contact Info,’ you’ll find a copy-paste e-mail address list for the commissioners.


Copy & Paste *e-mail list for the County Commissioners:;;;;

*No e-mail address available for Commissioner David I. Smith
His mailing address is:
PO Box 1854
Burlington, NC 27216


Suggested Subject: "No Gun Bans on Taxpayer Owned Property"

Dear Alamance County Commissioners,

I have recently been informed that there has been discussion among the County Commissioners about establishing a gun ban in county buildings.

With that in mind, I’m writing to remind the Commissioners that the citizens of Alamance County have a right to bear arms, and it is particularly on public property where this right ought to be recognized and protected. I respectfully insist that County Commissioners not machinate to deny Alamance County citizens their Second Amendment rights. Of course, I assume that you are a supporter of such rights, but passing an ordinance establishing a gun ban in county buildings would, unfortunately, prove my assumption incorrect.

To remain consistent with the supreme law of the land, and as a show of respect to the citizens you serve, I ask that you discount any thoughts of a gun ban on taxpayer-owned property. I will be monitoring your actions on this issue via alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.


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