Board members move to liberalize concealed carry laws
The first steps toward liberalizing Rowan County’s concealed carry laws were taken Tuesday by a handful of planning board subcommittee members in a small room at the county office building.
Although members agreed to expand the range of environments in which a person with a concealed carry permit could bring a firearm, the changes to the county ordinances will not be effective until the subcommittee’s recommendations go through the full planning board and then Rowan County commissioners.
The effort ultimately is geared toward aligning the concealed carry laws of the county with those that became state law in October.
The crux of the debate focused on permitting people to carry concealed firearms in county-owned buildings and parks, except where there are school-related activities taking place.
“(Last time the subcommittee met), the consensus was to allow (the concealed carry of firearms) throughout all parks and county-owned buildings. If you have a concealed carry permit issued by the state, you’re good to go anywhere here in any building or recreational park owned or operated by the county,” said Ed Muire, the county’s planning director. “We looked around at our surrounding counties, and with the exception of Cabarrus County, none of the others have done anything yet.”
Window stickers and other conspicuous signage prohibiting concealed carry will disappear if the recommendations pass the planning board and commissioners.
Members engaged in a lengthy discussion as to whether signs specifically allowing the concealed carry of a firearm for people with permits should replace signs prohibiting concealed carry of firearms in county buildings.
“People with concealed carry (permits) should know what is allowed under various sections of the law. If there is a sign up there that prohibits some things, it’s going to raise some questions,” said Larry Wright, chairman of the planning board’s subcommittee. “What we’re basically doing is looking at what can we allow the citizens of the county to do.”
Employees carry out the decisions of the commissioners so far as rules and regulations, Wright said.
“I’m sure there is going to be some employee some place who doesn’t like what we’re doing,” Wright said. “We have to look at 138,000 citizens and give them the freedom the state allows.”
Subcommittee members scrapped the idea of notices or signage on county buildings completely, but did ask county staff to look at having parks and recreation erect signs at parks notifying the public concealed firearms were not allowed in the areas of the property schools were using.
The park essentially transforms into education property if a school-related event is taking place, and a person carrying a concealed handgun could be charged if in the vicinity.
The parks currently have signs prohibiting the carry of concealed firearms, which state law dictates is legal now.
“I’m assuming these ‘no handguns in park’ signs are going to come down, because if they don’t come down, some poor person who doesn’t know the law is going to call the police because (somebody) just showed up with a handgun under his belt. We don’t need that,” said Joe Coladarci, one of the planning board’s subcommittee members. “They need to be removed.”
Subcommittee members will present their recommendations to the full planning board on Mar. 24, after which a plan will be put in front of commissioners for a vote.
Rowan County commissioners gave the green light Monday to a plan aimed at overhauling animal control operations and ultimately ending... read more