Concealed weapons rules fire debate
Most Guilford County commissioners showed no signs of taking steps to place limits on gun owners carrying concealed weapons into county parks and recreational facilities.
At its meeting Thursday night, the Board of Commissioners voted 7-2 to decline enacting restrictions on people carrying concealed weapons at county-operated parks and recreation areas. Democratic commissioners Carolyn Coleman and Kay Cashion voted against a resolution that would have Guilford County decline its option to enact restrictions at certain county-run locations.
The commissioners who didn’t support the concealed carry restrictions include Republican Chairman Bill Bencini of High Point and Democrat Bruce Davis of High Point.
Commissioners who didn’t want to implement the concealed carry restrictions expressed concerns about the problem with enforcing the rules between non-recreational and recreational areas. Also, most commissioners worried that someone who wasn’t intending to do harm could get charged with a felony for having a concealed weapon in an area such as a restroom at a park.
“This is a common-sense approach — enforcing restrictions in recreational areas is nearly impossible,” said Republican Commissioner Jeff Phillips of Greensboro.
But Cashion said she doesn’t believe guns “have a place near recreational fields. It’s not a place to encourage people to bring guns.”
Since the vote Thursday night wasn’t unanimous following a public hearing, a subsequent up-or-down majority vote will be needed on the concealed carry issue.
The Board of Commissioners’ action would have affected Gibson Park in High Point, as well as Southwest Park and Triad Park.
Last year, the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly passed a law to limit the ability of county and municipal governments to restrict gun owners from carrying a concealed handgun if they have a permit. However, local governments were given the option of posting a “prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun” in county or municipal buildings or “recreational facilities,” according to the statute.
The law permits restrictions of the concealed carry of handguns during organized events at athletic fields, parks and indoor facilities and at swimming pools.
County and municipal governments aren’t allowed to restrict people from carrying a concealed weapon with a permit on any greenway, biking or walking path, or government-maintained walkway, according to the statute.
Any restrictions on the concealed carry of handguns on county or municipal property doesn’t apply to the legal storage of a handgun in a locked vehicle within the trunk, glove compartment or other enclosed area of the vehicle.
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In other business Thursday, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to name Republican Commissioner Linda Shaw of Greensboro to the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority. Next month, Shaw will replace Henry Isaacson, the authority chairman, who is leaving after 15 years on the governing board of Piedmont Triad International Airport.