Mecklenburg Co Mulls Park Ban
After deadlocking on proposed parks ordinance changes last month, Mecklenburg county commissioners tabled the issue and instructed the county attorney and the parks director (who has publicly shown he is against carry by law-abiding citizens) to bring alternative recommendations to a future meeting.
GRNC has received confirmation that the alternatives prepared by the county attorney and parks director will be presented at the May 7, 2013 board of county commissioners meeting. Presumably, the commissioners will vote again and attempt to lockdown a parks ordinance that unfortunately includes all restrictions allowed under GS 14-415.23. Therefore, it is time to act again!!
Your prior emails and calls have been a huge help in educating and influencing the commissioners. There is no question your past actions helped to persuade an open minded Democrat commissioner, Chairman Cotham, to support a compromise position, which puts a tight rein on the restrictions. With Chairman Cotham and three supportive GOP commissioners on board, we need one more vote to secure the least onerous restrictions possible.
Our Mecklenburg County friends need your help, and Mecklenburg County residents need to act now! Please email the county commissioners with the following message in an effort to convince five of the board members to vote against the proposed ordinance changes or for the least onerous restrictions possible.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
Email the Mecklenburg County Commissioners as outlined below. Keep up the pressure, thank those that voted previously to limit the restrictions, and send a message to those that voted against. Please be respectful and do not stoop to including any idle threats.
Plan to attend the May 7, 2013 county commission meeting if you live in or near Mecklenburg County. The meeting will be held at 6:00pm at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center in the Meeting Chamber on the main floor, 600 East Fourth Street. Parking is available in the deck on Fourth Street across from the Government Center (and other nearby lots/decks). Parking across from the Government Center should be free (the gate will be up) by the time you leave the commission meeting.
Plan to register to speak when the parks ordinance comes up on the agenda. See this link to register to speak or go to:http://charmeck.org/MECKLENBURG/COUNTY/BOCC/MEETINGS/Pages/default.aspx
Mecklenburg County Commissioners:
Pat Cotham (D), Chairman –Pat.Cotham@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
Kim M. Ratliff (D) – Kim.Ratliff@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
Trevor Fuller (D) – Trevor.Fuller@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
Karen Bentley (R) – Karen.Bentley@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
Vilma Leake (D) – Vilma.Leake@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
George Dunlap (D) – George.Dunlap@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
Dumont Clark (D) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Ridenhour (R) –Matthew.Ridenhour@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
Bill James (R) – email@example.com
Mecklenburg Cut and Paste Email List:
Pat.Cotham@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov, Kim.Ratliff@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov,Trevor.Fuller@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov,Karen.Bentley@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov,Vilma.Leake@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov,George.Dunlap@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org,Matthew.Ridenhour@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov, email@example.com
DELIVER THIS MESSAGE
Dear County Commissioner:
It has come to my attention through Grass Roots North Carolina that alternative proposals for changes to the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Facilities Ordinance will be considered again at your next regular meeting. I am very concerned that any restrictions on safe, law-abiding concealed carry permittees will continue to highlight county parks as self-defense gun-free-zones where only criminals intent on violence will carry weapons.
I am asking that you introduce or accept a recommendation that excludes any restrictions on law-abiding, concealed-handgun-permit-approved citizens to carry concealed anywhere in county parks. If this becomes impossible, I ask that you support Commissioner Ridenhour’s compromise position, which at least tightens the proposed concealed carry restrictions.
In response to points raised at the previous meeting, please note the following when making your decision:
Concealed carry restrictions in parks are not required by NC state law, they are optional. You do not need to enact the restrictions allowed BUT NOT REQUIRED to conform with NC law.
Since the enactment of concealed handgun permit (CHP) laws in the mind-1990s, concealed carry permittees have proven to be an exceptionally safe, sober, exemplary, law-abiding group and are not a problem.
Studies show the mere possibility of the presence of concealed carry permittees reduces violent crime because criminals will not chance an encounter with a legally armed citizen. In other words, parks are safer when CHP holders may be present.
NC law restricts CHP holders from carrying at educational facilities or at facilities in use for curricular or extra-curricular events, e.g., Time Warner Cable arena during graduations, or at other facilities for school events. Therefore, excluding concealed carry restrictions in the parks ordinance does not change the law regarding educational facilities or school events.
Although Mecklenburg County parks may be relatively safe compared to other parts of the county, violent crimes occur in our parks. If allowing CHP holders to carry in parks means just one person can be saved or life-threatening injuries can be prevented, is it not your duty to reject carry restrictions? What if the person saved is your friend, neighbor, or relative?
Concerns about accidental or collateral injuries caused by CHP holders are unwarranted. This has not occurred in any state in the union in any location where CHP holders are allowed to carry, thus there is no reason to fear this will happen in Mecklenburg County.
Please support safety in our parks, support law-abiding concealed carry permittees, and vote to support my requests mentioned above.
[Add: “Mecklenburg County Resident” or “Concerned Citizen” as appropriate]