Gun Laws
5:00 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Where Can't You Carry A Gun in N.C.?

Credit emedco.com

A new law, which went into effect in October, makes it legal to carry a gun in the state's restaurants, bars, parks,  and public schools/universities (with a handful of caveats.)

You can't carry a weapon into a city government building, though.

Many of the laws opponents had one question on mind: Why? What evidence was there that guns were needed to prevent violence in local parks?

Many of the laws supporters were looking for uniformity across the state - Why, they wondered, should they be allowed to lock a gun in their car, but not able to drive that car to pick up their children from school?

A number of municipalities across the state rebelled against the new conceal carry laws.  Cities like Asheville, Winston-Salem, and Morrisville have all taken measures to try and continue to prohibit guns on playgrounds and in parks.

Beyond the politics, the debate is intensely personal for all sides.

In November, then-Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe lost her re-election bid, thanks largely, she believes, to spending by outside pro-gun rights groups against her (Holcombe was openly opposed to the law allowing guns on playgrounds).  Holcombe says even though she believes that her stance on concealed weapons lost her the reelection, she would do it all over again,  "Guns don't belong around children.  I wouldn't visit a playground where concealed guns were legally allowed." 

Paul Valone, President of Grass Roots North Carolina (a gun-rights organization), has been adamant about individuals freedom to carry a gun in parks and greenways, where, he believes, police assistance may not be readily available. "Our opposition would have you believe that parks are somehow immune to violent crime. The notion that parks are immune to crime is a myth."

Phoebe Judge talks with Jackie Holcombe, former mayor of Morrisville, and Paul Valone, President of Grass Roots North Carolina, about N.C.'s new gun legislation.

Holcombe and Valone sat down with WUNC's Phoebe Judge (separately) to talk about the new law, and how their supporters have felt about its implementation, particularly on playgrounds and parks:

Here's the section of the law they discussed:

SECTION 6. G.S. 14-415.23 reads as rewritten:
"§ 14-415.23. Statewide uniformity.

(a) It is the intent of the General Assembly to prescribe a uniform system for the regulation of legally carrying a concealed handgun. To insure uniformity, no political subdivisions, boards, or agencies of the State nor any county, city, municipality, municipal corporation, town, township, village, nor any department or agency thereof, may enact ordinances, rules, or regulations concerning legally carrying a concealed handgun. A unit of local government may adopt an ordinance to permit the posting of a prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun, in accordance with G.S. 14-415.11(c), on local government buildings and their appurtenant premises.

(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 handgu 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.

(c) 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.

(1) An athletic field, including any appurtenant facilities such as restrooms, during an organized athletic event if the field had been scheduled for use with the municipality or county office responsible for operation of the park or recreational area.
House Bill 937-Ratified Session Law 2013-369 Page 5

(2) A swimming pool, including any appurtenant facilities used for dressing, storage of personal items, or other uses relating to the swimming pool.

(3) A facility used for athletic events, including, but not limited to, a gymnasium.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the term "recreational facilities" does not include any greenway, designated biking or walking path, an area that is customarily used as a walkway or bike path although not specifically designated for such use, open areas or fields where athletic events may occur unless the area qualifies as an "athletic field" pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section, and any other area that is not specifically described in subsection (c) of this section."