China Grove approves allowing firearms on town property, with a valid permit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CHINA GROVE — Without much discussion during Tuesday’s council meeting, the board approved to allow residents with a valid concealed carry permit the right to carry a firearm on town property.
Essentially the amendments say someone with a permit can carry a weapon in the city parks or on town property.
The ordinance also includes a portion regarding discharging firearms that says a person with a permit be allowed to fire BB or pellet guns on private property with the owner’s permission as long as the projectile doesn’t leave the owner’s property.
The amendments include a section for crossbows and bows/arrows that says they too can be fired on private party with the permission of the owner and as long as the projectile does not leave that property.
It is unlawful for weapons to be brought onto town property, except by law enforcement officers, ROTC students in the performance of their duties, a person with a valid concealed carry permit. Any person who carries a weapon without a permit can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, be convicted and pay court fees/fines or imprisoned.
The board has previously spoken about the changes and its desire to allow its residents the right to carry firearms.
Councilman Lee Withers said in an earlier interview that with all the publicity surrounding school shootings it made the board look at the town’s ordinances, but that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings was not a direct reason for the ordinance changes.
Interim Town Manager Ken Deal said in an earlier interview, the sentiment from the changes is the anti-gun movement.
“The board is saying they are ‘continuing our support of our right to bear arms,’ “ Deal said.
• Received updates from Alan Corriher, chairman of the Park Advisory Board. Corriher said there have been people at some of the parks after reasonable hours. He asked at the February meeting if the board could do something about young people “hanging out” at the park after hours. Corriher said the Park Advisory Board suggests that all signs at all of the parks include park hours from sunrise to sunset.
Police Chief Eddie Kluttz said he believed the park hours should be set by the individual parks because there are some parks that are used by Little League teams. The teams sometimes do need to be at the park beyond sunset.
The board will continue to look at this issue at its planning retreat, schedule at 5:30 p.m., March 12.
• Little League sponsorship

Mayor Don Bringle said the local Little League team requests the town board sponsor the team. The board discussed whether it should provide sponsorship or even if it could sponsor a team. Ultimately the board said although they wished the team well, they could not sponsor it.
Councilman Brandon Linn made the motion to not sponsor the league. He later said his decision was not because he doesn’t support youth activities or similar good causes. Linn said he felt if the board sponsored the Little League, other teams would ask the board to sponsor them and it wouldn’t be fair to sponsor one and not all.
“There’s no way we could justify that,” Linn said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.