Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taking Liberties With The Law

When the North Carolina General Assembly passed the omnibus HB 650 which contained many changes in the state's gun laws, they included a provision that would allow concealed carry in state, municipal, and county parks. However, thanks to an amendment by former Rep. David Guice (R-Transylvania) they allowed cities and counties to continue to ban concealed carry at recreational facilities if they so chose. Guice justified the exemption for recreational facilities by saying "I've seen firsthand the violence on the Little League field."

From Section 21.b.:
A unit of local government may 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. 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. 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."
As can be seen above, the law was very specific as to what constituted a "recreational facility". Moreover, the prohibition applies only to that facility and not to the park within it resides.

Unfortunately, certain cities within North Carolina have started to take liberties with this exemption.The latest to do so is the City of Greensboro. The Greensboro City Council will consider an ordinance amending their law on Tuesday. According to the supporting memoranda from city staff, they are construing the exemption to include the entire park in which the recreational facility is located. The ordinance itself is somewhat vague though given how it is presented by city staff I think it may be reasonable to expect they mean the whole park.

Grass Roots North Carolina has issued an alert on the changes in Greensboro.
Like some others, Greensboro is being rather creative in their reading of a clearly laid out law. The ordinance they will be considering Tuesday night takes the following interesting liberties with the new law:

  1. It bans whole parks which *contain* recreational facilities;
  2. Tries to say the legislature "changed" the word "parks" to "recreational facilities;" and
  3. It fails to specifically name the "recreational facilities" where guns are banned.

If we were too polite with the above, let us be clearer. These are the ways they will be BREAKING THE LAW if allowed to go forward with this plan. Now in the creative logic they are applying in reaching these conclusions, they may not even be aware that they will be breaking the law. It is up to you to make them aware of this.
They are asking for people to contact Greensboro City Council to make their displeasure known and the link above has a pre-written message.

I can't say I'm surprised by the actions of the Greensboro City Council. I grew up in the city and it has changed significantly since I left it after college. Though I still own the house I grew up in, the author Thomas Wolfe was right when he said you can't go home again.


  1. The cities pulling this are certainly out of line, but I submit that a significant amount of blame attaches to Rep. Guice. He wanted the exemption because of violence? Are violent situations not that which necessitate arms in the hands of the peaceable?

    That's like banning fire extinguishers somewhere, because fires are known to happen there.

  2. @ Kurt: I agree. The amendment couldn't have passed without enough Republicans supporting it. As to Guice himself, he was appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue to be the Director of Community Corrections in the Dept of Public Safety. This mean he handles the probation system. So you have a Dem appointing a Republican to a post in a Dem administration. Given the partisanship shown by Perdue, this is a bit unusual.