North Carolina --(Ammoland.com)-Below is the letter recently sent to all members of the Macon County Board of Education.
August 28, 2013Macon County Board of Education 1202 Old Murphy Road Franklin, NC 28734 Attn: Jim Breedlove, Chairman
Dear Mr. Breedlove:
As you know, under Session Law 2013-369, the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed, and Governor Patrick McCrory recent signed into law, legislation under which, effective October 1, 2013, North Carolina concealed handgun permit-holders may keep firearms within closed compartments in locked motor vehicles on educational property.
As the primary proponent for the law, Grass Roots North Carolina has long sought the change for three reasons:
- To enable concealed handgun permit-holders who, by virtue of background checks and training, have proven themselves sane, sober and law-abiding to better protect themselves not just on campus, but when going about daily business which may entail transiting such campuses;
- To deter violent criminals and sociopaths who routinely target ostensibly “gun free” zones, secure in the knowledge they will not meet armed resistance; and
- To keep tens of thousands of lawful North Carolinians from becoming “accidental felons” when transporting children to school or even unknowingly traveling on a street which transits a campus.
Yet according to the August 22, 2013 edition of “The Macon County News,” the Macon County Board of Education has tasked attorney John Henning Jr. with drafting a policy banning guns from Macon County schools.
Said the article: “…the bill, which is now G.S. 14-269.3, allows individuals with concealed-carry permits to bring their guns onto school campuses – from kindergarten to college – if they keep the weapons in a closed compartment [sic] in their locked vehicles.” It goes on to quote Henning as saying: “I don’t think that if the district comes up with their own policy regarding guns on campuses they would be violating any state law.” Finally, the piece reports: “The board unanimously agreed to direct Henning to begin drafting a board policy banning firearms from school campuses in Macon County.”
Accordingly, please allow me to advise you that the board is being given very bad legal advice. Specifically:
- The statute in question is not § 14-269.3 (which is actually “Carrying weapons into assemblies and establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed”), but rather § 14-269.2 (“Weapons on campus or other educational property”).
- Although under Section 2 of S.L. 2013-369, a “nonpublic post-secondary educational institution” and a “nonpublic school which provides residential housing for enrolled students” may prohibit concealed handguns, no such provision exists for public schools of any kind.
- Mr. Henning seems to be unaware of § 14-415.23 (“Statewide uniformity”) which says in relevant part: “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.”
Since Macon County Schools are indeed a department of Macon County, and a gun ban would undoubtedly constitute a “rule,” such policy would be a violation of state law. Indeed, if the school board passes such a ban, Grass Roots North Carolina will recruit plaintiffs and file litigation against Macon County and its board of education.
Please note this would not be the first time GRNC has taken such action. Our organization was a plaintiff in Bateman v. Perdue, in which the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina struck down the state’s blanket prohibition on carrying firearms outside the home during declared states of emergency.
Equally, GRNC’s non-profit arm, Rights Watch International, is engaged in litigation against the city of Winston-Salem over its illegal restrictions on concealed handguns in municipal parks (Childs v. Winston-Salem) — a lawsuit Winston-Salem will find increasingly difficult to defend against given that Section 6 of S.L. 2013-369, also advocated by GRNC, will increasingly restrict the city’s ability to regulate firearms.
Rather than succumbing to hysteria and facing litigation, I strongly urge the Macon County Board of Education to comply with state law. If I can answer questions or be of help in any way, please contact me directly at (704) 907-9206.
Respectfully, F. Paul Valone President, Grass Roots North Carolina Executive Director, Rights Watch International
Grass Roots North Carolina/Forum for Firearms Education is a non-profit, all volunteer organization devoted to educating the public about trends which abridge the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and engaging in grass roots activism to preserve those freedoms. Formed in 1994 to conduct a highly successful rally for the Second Amendment, GRNC has gone on to conduct projects like “Remember in November: A Gun Owner’s Guide to Voting,” bringing concealed carry to North Carolina. Visit:www.grnc.org