GRNC Alert: 08-28-13 – Macon County School Board Considers Unlawful Gun Ban

MACON COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD CONSIDERS UNLAWFUL GUN BAN

Governor McCrory’s signature on HB 937 is barely dry, and already one of its most important provisions is under attack. The new statute in question (14-269.2) provides for concealed handgun permit-holders to keep handguns in closed containers, within a locked motor vehicle, on educational grounds. On August 22, the “The Macon County News” reported that Macon County Schools attorney, John Henning, Jr., has said of the new statute, “It is just crazy.” He also contends that the statute may be circumvented via policies enacted by the local school board, policies that would allow for “disciplinary action.”

Unfortunately for Henning and the Macon County School Board, “It is just crazy,” is not a solid legal argument. In fact, enacting and attempting to enforce rules that counter this new statewide statute would be unlaw

Today, GRNC distributed a press release regarding the Macon County School Board’s considered effort to evade the law. In the press release, GRNC President, Paul Valone, highlights the reasons for this long sought change in the law: 

  1. 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;
  2. To deter violent criminals and sociopaths who routinely target ostensibly “gun free” zones, secure in the knowledge they will not meet armed resistance; and
  3. 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.

Valone then responds to Henning’s incorrect assertions regarding the statute, correcting misguided justification for enacting such unlawful new policies:

    1. 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. 
    2. 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.”

Clearly, an effort to circumvent this state law would not only be misguided, it would also be illegal, and Valone promises that any such effort will be met with legal action:

“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.”

GRNC asks that you contact the Macon County School Board to reinforce the point that the action they are considering is unlawful. The School Board needs to know that North Carolina’s gun owners are paying attention, and that we will encourage and support any legal action taken against the School Board if they attempt to bypass state law.

Below is a list of e-mail addresses for the Macon County School Board members and Superintendent, and a suggested message that you can send to them. Please take a moment and let the School Board members know that what they’re considering is illegal, and that it will not be tolerated.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!

  • E-mail the Macon County School Board, and tell them that their plan to dodge § 14-269.2 is unlawful, and it will not be tolerated. Use the copy/paste e-mail list and the suggested letter, provided below, to send the message.
  • Help GRNC fight the legal battle to enforce the new law as passed:
    Donate HERE or go to: http://www.grnc.org/join-grnc/contribute

Copy/Paste E-mail List: 
jim.breedlove@macon.k12.nc.us;
tommy.cabe@macon.k12.nc.us;
melissa.evans@macon.k12.nc.us;
stephanie.mccall@macon.k12.nc.us;
gary.shields@macon.k12.nc.us;
chris.baldwin@macon.k12.nc.us

DELIVER THIS MESSAGE

Suggested Subject: “No Unlawful Gun Bans”   

Dear Macon County School Board Members and Superintendent Baldwin,

It has come to my attention that the School Board is considering the enactment of policies designed to circumvent a new state law. As part of HB 937, recently signed into law by Governor McCrory, § 14-269.2 provides for concealed handgun permit-holders to keep handguns in closed containers, within locked motor vehicles, on educational property. I understand that the Macon County School Board’s attorney, John Henning, Jr., believes that if the Board “comes up with their own policy regarding guns on campuses,” they would not be violating any state laws. I’m afraid this is not the case. Thanks to information received from Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC), I know the following to be true:
  • 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.
  • In § 14-415.23 (“Statewide uniformity”), the relevant part states: “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. If the school board passes such unlawful rules, I intend to support GRNC in their effort to recruit plaintiffs and file litigation against Macon County and its board of education.
I ask that the Macon County School Board abandon any plans to enact rules intended to bypass § 14-415.23. Enacting such policies would be both misguided and unlawful. I will continue to monitor this situation by way of Grass Roots North Carolina alerts.

Respectfully,

      
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