Raleigh Capitulates, Next Stop: Wilmington!

Raleigh City Council to finally remove illegal signs in parks while Wilmington continues to stall…

GRNC is pleased to announce victory in Raleigh as the Mayor and city council have agreed to immediately remove all of the signs which illegally ban handguns carried by those with a NC Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) posted in city parks. An announcement released by the Mayor’s office states that all of the illegal signs will be removed by tomorrow, October 30th.

In the past several weeks, GRNC has leaned hard on Raleigh in order to have them fully comply with laws that were recently passed, as well as laws that were passed almost two years ago. GRNC recently launched a campaign to have these illegal signs removed while Raleigh decided to drag their feet, citing costs of the removal and resting on a rather odd idea that the laws might change back in years to come, so why bother? Finally, today, Raleigh has decided that they also must comply with current law. It’s nice to have them aboard.

Next stop, Wilmington!

In much the same manner as Raleigh, the city of Wilmington has also been dragging their feet on this issue. As incredible as it may seem, Wilmington has still yet to remove or alter in any way most of their signs in city-owned parks. In a letter sent to Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo dated October 21st, 2013, GRNC President Paul Valone noted:

“In its 2011-2012 Session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 650 (S.L. 2011-268), which restricted the ability of municipalities to prohibit the lawful carry of concealed handguns in municipal parks to a limited number of “recreational facilities” within those parks. In 2013, the legislature passed House Bill 937 (S.L. 2013-369), which further narrowed the definition of recreational facilities as follows:

 (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.

(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.

Throughout all of this, Wilmington has kept its signs prohibiting all concealed carry in parks, and continues to list the following ordinance on its web site:

“Sec. 6-7.1. Possession of weapons or concealed handguns prohibited on city property.

“(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) below, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess any weapon or concealed handgun as defined in G.S. § 14-269 in city-owned or operated buildings, their appurtenant premises, and parks….

“(Ord. of 10-17-95, § 1)”

“Please note that the imposition of a local gun law or regulation more stringent that state law  is a violation of § 14-409.40 (“Statewide uniformity of local regulation”). If you do not remove the signs and amend your ordinance, legal action will follow. Please note that under § 6-21.7 (“Attorneys’ fees; cities or counties acting outside the scope of their authority”), we will also seek to recover associated legal expenses.”

Raleigh capitulates…and Wilmington??

In perhaps the first sign of some kind of movement in the right direction, it appears as though a representative of Wilmington has contacted GRNC and is now ready to move toward compliance. Only 2 hours after the release of news from Raleigh that they will now remove their illegal signs, Wilmington now appears to be ready to do the same.

Perhaps Wilmington noted the attention that Raleigh received by the Raleigh News & Observer in a recent article found here? On top of the recent article, the story also received quite a bit of play on various news television broadcasts around the state and nation. With GRNC’s recent threat of a “duct tape” program where we asked members to help the Raleigh City Council by sending them rolls of duct tape to cover the illegal portions of “multi-use” signs, perhaps Wilmington has now decided that actually complying with law is easier that remaining in violation of it.

It’s now time to lean heavily on Mayor Saffo and the Wilmington City Council in order for them to fully comply with state law. Perhaps in the interest of atonement for having an illegal ordinance on the books for two years, they should simply rescind ALL restrictions on concealed carry in parks?

Time will tell, and time is now short for Wilmington. We need you to help us in this effort by letting the Wilmington Mayor and the city council know that enough is enough!


  • Email and Call:  Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. Tell him to remove all illegal signs in city parks immediately!
  • Email and Call: Wilmington City Council members and the city attorney’s office and deliver the same messgage!
  • Support GRNC!: GRNC needs your support to help combat the efforts against your rights as gun owners. Join or renew your membership!  http://www.grnc.org/join-grnc/join-grnc-online


Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo
(910) 341-7815

Wilmington City Council Members:

Mayor Pro-Tem Earl Sheridan
(910) 799-5541

Margaret E. Haynes
(910) 297-5547

Kevin O’Grady
(910) 352-8058

Neil Anderson
(910) 547-6304

Laura W. Padgett
(910) 762-0542

Charles H. Rivenbark, Jr.
(910) 791-0400 ext. 115

To email entire Council:


Suggested Subject: “Remove Illegal signs”   

Dear Mayor Saffo and City Council Members,

As a North Carolina gun owner and Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) holder, I am deeply concerned that the City of Wilmington has yet to remove illegal signs still posted in city parks which ban concealed handguns. I find it incredible, that after two years since HB650 was enacted into law, the City of Wilmington still has yet to comply with state law in this regard. This willful and intentional political foot-dragging brings great shame to Wilmington.

As you well know, compliance of law is not a matter of choice. Still, you have chosen to take no action some two years after laws were changed allowing the lawful carrying of concealed weapons in parks and recreation areas. Am I to take from this that I can willfully choose to comply with the laws I happen to agree with and disregard others that I do not agree with? What kind of example do you think you are setting with your non-action in regards to this matter?

I ask that you immediately remove all signs banning the lawful carry of handguns from all city parks. Two years is enough time for you two have acted on this matter and I can only imagine what the excuse is for not complying with state law.

I ask that you carefully consider this matter and I will be watching your actions carefully through updates from Grass Roots North Carolina.


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