WINSTON SALEM CONSIDERS ILLEGAL GUN BAN
|Concealed handgun supporters must be vigilant and fight local attempts to flout improvements to concealed carry!
As you recall, when GRNC successfully fought to pass concealed carry in state and municipal parks in 2011, some city governments opposed to the changes adopted ordinances with over-broad interpretations of what constitutes a “recreational facility” where they could still ban guns. Given that HB 937, which becomes law on Oct. 1, expands concealed carry into restaurants, campuses and into more areas of parks, you can expect more local government resistance.
The most egregious offender has been Winston-Salem, which effectively continues to ban guns on greenways, lakes and entire parks. In response, GRNC has taken two actions: First, our non-profit arm, Rights Watch International, filed a lawsuit against the city. Second, we went back to the legislature and successfully narrowed the definition of “recreational facility” such that local governments could no longer ban guns on athletic fields (except during organized events), or on playgrounds, greenways and walking trails, or open fields.
Winston-Salem stonewalls on lawsuit & continues to flout the law
In the Rights Watch lawsuit against Winston-Salem over its illegal parks ordinance, city lawyers are trying to stonewall on the discovery stage, refusing to provide the plaintiffs with:
- The identity of each person involved in drafting the illegal Ordinance.
- Documents written by the City and its employees relating to the City’s definition of: “playground, athletic facility, athletic field, and swimming pool” in the Ordinance.
- Documents related to the research, development, drafting, and debate on the Ordinance.
- Police reports for crimes occurring at the parks, greenways, lakes, picnic shelters, and recreational facilities in the past three years.
For a legal update on Winston-Salem’s efforts to subvert your will,CLICK HERE or go to: http://grnc.org/documents/PT-Writeup-on-Winston-Salem-lawsuit.pdf.
In its most recent and attempt to defy the will of voters, the Winston-Salem City Council is once again plotting to undermine our newly improved parks carry law. At the bottom of the alert is a hand-wringing letter from council member Molly Leight to her constituents, and then GRNC President Paul Valone’s response.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
- CONTACT MAYOR ALLEN JOINES & CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Tell them that their deliberate attempts to flout both state law and the will of the voters who elected them will not be tolerated.
- ATTEND WINSTON-SALEM COUNCIL MEETING ONMONDAY, SEPT. 16: We need to pack the meeting with people bearing signs and public displays that “Guns Save Lives” in order to deliver the message to the media that we aren’t going away until Winston-Salem complies with the law. The meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber (Room 230), City Hall, 101 North Main Street. If you can make it, please contact GRNC coordinator Brian Reese at: email@example.com
- CONTRIBUTE TO THE WINSTON-SALEM LAWSUIT: Whether or not you live in the city, understand that this lawsuit will chart the course for actions by local governments around the state. Help it succeed by making a tax deductible contribution by CLICKING HERE or going to:http://rightswatch.org/donate/donate
- REPORT LOCAL GOVERNMENTS VIOLATING THE LAW:GRNC has set up a reporting form accessible by CLICKING HERE or going to: www.grnc.org/Report-Local-Government-Violations but please bear in mind that our volunteers can’t cover 100 counties, meaning it is likely you will be asked to act as a local coordinator for actions taken against local governments.
Copy & Paste E-mail List:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
|Mayor Allen Joines,email@example.com
870 Turnberry Forest Ct.
Winston-Salem, NC 27104
|Molly Leight, firstname.lastname@example.org
313 South Main Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
|Denise D. Adams,email@example.com
3661 Marlowe Avenue
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
|Vivian H. Burke,firstname.lastname@example.org
3410 Cumberland Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27105
336-661-6460 (phone and fax)
|Dan Besse, email@example.com
235 New Drive,
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
336-722-1674 (home and work)
|Robert C. Clark,firstname.lastname@example.org
2815 Country Club Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27104
851 West Fourth Street # 8
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
|Derwin L. Montgomery,email@example.com
2451 Dellabrook Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27105
|James Taylor, Jr.firstname.lastname@example.org
858 Shalimar Drive Winston-Salem, NC 27107
336-757-2110 (mobile) email@example.com
DELIVER THIS MESSAGE
Suggested Subject: “Do Not Defy State Law”
Dear Mayor Joines and Winston-Salem City Council Members:
I have recently been informed of actions being contemplated by the Winston-Salem City Council in response to the approaching October 1, 2013 implementation of Session Law 2013-369. In fact, a letter from “sad and confused” council member, Molly Leight, intimated that the council may continue to flout state law by banning guns in areas where the city is no longer permitted to do so. Attempting to do this would be a mistake, and I am writing to urge you to save the taxpayers of Winston-Salem tens of thousands of dollars in wasted legal expenses, expenses which would be incurred in any futile attempt to stave off a public policy with which you simply disagree.
Please understand that those whom some in city government seem to fear have been, without significant incident, carrying concealed handguns next to you in grocery store lines since 1995. Gang members don’t obtain concealed handgun permits, nor do they care whether guns are banned on greenways. By their nature, they are law-breakers. As for proximity of children to firearms, we should first note that it is a parent’s responsibility to protect his or her children, including from predators such as the man who not long ago tried to snatch a child from his mother in Charlotte’s Frazier Park. Moreover, in contrast to imagined tragedies, children have been taken to daycare centers and church playgrounds by armed parents since 1995, again without incident.
Arguments that private property owners whose lands have easements for greenways could prohibit firearms in those areas is superficially attractive but, unfortunately, false. Greenways are a form of public easement. A public easement is a transfer of certain property rights, such as physical access, from a landowner to the public, represented by local government. A landowner may not post private property against concealed carry on which a greenway exists by an easement. A clear reading of N.C. Gen Stats § GS 14-411(c)(8), along with the aforementioned details, will make this perfectly clear.
The dire predictions, made by some, over expansion of concealed handgun laws have never come true. This is because concealed handgun permit-holders, by virtue of background checks and training, have consistently proven themselves to be the most responsible members of society. I ask that you recognize this and act appropriately. More importantly, I ask that you rethink any plans you may have to disobey state law, disrespect your law-abiding constituents, and cost Winston-Salem thousands in legal expenses.
I will continue to monitor this issue via alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.
|LETTER FROM COUNCIL MEMBER MOLLY LEIGHT TO CONSTITUENTS:
“…I want to give you a heads up on a situation that has the City Council Members completely at a loss. In the last couple of years our General Assembly has passed many unreasonable laws that are on the backs of our children and grandchildren. I will not try to discuss the school issues, but do want you to know about the dangerous position our children have been placed in by the GA.
“When the GA passed a law allowing concealed guns to be carried in parks, except on athletic fields and facilities, your City Council knew it was a poorly written and conceived law. We chose to interpret the law as allowing prohibition of concealed weapons in any active areas of a park: playgrounds, ball fields, tracks, and greenways; and we passed an ordinance with those prohibitions. In this past session of the GA your legislators revised the law (probably backed by the gun lobby) to specify where concealed weapons are allowed, or are not possible for the city to prohibit.
“Among those places that we can no longer prohibit concealed carry is children’s play grounds! Can you imagine the horror of one toddler getting a gun out of Mom’s purse and shooting another child? This is idiocy!
“Another place where concealed weapons cannot be prohibited, according to the GA, is on greenways. If you and your family are walking/biking on a greenway, the person you meet may be carrying! Could you be walking into a gang war? A personal vendetta?
“We had this conundrum in our Council Committees this week. Our attorney rightly says we have to have an ordinance that reflects State law; however none of us could, in good conscience vote to recommend approval to the full City Council. On the greenway part, we have approved a resolution of protest to send to Raleigh our objection due to the fact that many sections of our greenways are on easements across private property. Without permission of the property owner, concealed weapons cannot be carried onto the owner’s property. The greenways would have to be posted as such, and presumably, any owner could post his property as a prohibited area.
“This comes to full Council on Monday, the 16th. What do we do? If we cannot, morally, vote for Raleigh’s ill-considered laws, but we have to comply with State law; what do we do?”
Your sad and confused Council Member,
GRNC PRESIDENT PAUL VALONE’S OPEN LETTER TO MOLLY LEIGHT:
To: Ms. Molly Leight, Winston-Salem City Council
From: F. Paul Valone, President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Re: Winston-Salem ordinance
Cc: Mayor Allen Joines and members of the Winston-Salem City Council
Dear Ms. Leight:
I was recently forwarded your letter to constituents regarding actions being contemplated by the Winston-Salem City Council in response to October 1, 2013 implementation of Session Law 2013-369, including your imagined scenarios of children shooting each other on playgrounds and gang wars on greenways. In the letter you intimated that the council may continue to flout state law by banning guns in areas where the city is no longer permitted to do so. You described yourself as “sad and confused.”
I sympathize, Molly. I really do. Reality can be a harsh intrusion on utopian fantasies. But I urge you and other members of the council to save the taxpayers of Winston-Salem tens of thousands of dollars in wasted legal expenses in some futile attempt to stave off a public policy with which you simply disagree.
If it’s any consolation, try to understand that the people you seem to fear have been, without significant incident, carrying concealed handguns next to you in grocery store lines since 1995. Gang members don’t get concealed handgun permits, Molly, nor do they care whether you ban guns in greenways. By their nature, they are law-breakers.
As for proximity of children to firearms, we should first note that as a parent it is my responsibility to protect my children, including from predators such as the man who not long ago tried to snatch a child from his mother in Charlotte’s Frazier Park. Moreover, in contrast to your imagined tragedies, children have been taken to daycare centers and church playgrounds by armed parents since 1995, again without incident.
Your argument that private property owners whose lands have easements for greenways could prohibit firearms in those areas is superficially attractive but, unfortunately, false. Notes attorney Ed Green, our Director of Legal Affairs:
“Greenways are a form of public easement. A public easement is a transfer of certain property rights, such as physical access, from a landowner to the public, represented by local government. Once the easement is operative, the landowner may no longer enforce those rights, such as selectively excluding the public from the property. With respect to the property rights transferred by easement, the landowner is no longer in legal control of the property.
“A landowner may not post private property, on which a greenway exists by an easement, against concealed carry. N.C. Gen Stats § GS 14-411(c)(8) prohibits the concealed carry of firearms “On any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited by the posting of a conspicuous notice or statement by the person in legal possession or control of the premises.” First, a greenway open to the public is clearly not a private premise. During the hours and under the conditions proscribed for its use, it is public space. Furthermore, the person in legal possession or control of a greenway, at least with respect to matters of public access and use, is not the landowner. Accordingly, a landowner having executed a public easement for a greenway may not post the portion of the greenway that runs on his land against concealed carry. The entity in legal control of public access and use of the greenway is the local government specified in the easement document. With limited exceptions, state law governs local governments’ ability to restrict concealed carry.”
Seek solace in the fact that none of the dire predictions over expansion of concealed handgun laws have ever come true, Molly, because concealed handgun permit-holders, by virtue of background checks and training, have consistently proven themselves to be the most responsible members of society.
Molly, I refer you to the “Serenity Prayer,” which says:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
F. Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Executive Director, Rights Watch International
© 2012 GRNCFFE, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction and distribution is permitted provided full attribution is given and the item is reprinted in its entirety. Address questions to: President@GRNC.org