Gun Rights Supporters:
As we have promised, Grass Roots North Carolina’s non-profit arm has struck a blow for those who carry firearms for self-protection by filing its lawsuit against the city of Winston-Salem.
GRNC’s sister organization is Rights Watch International (RWI), and the lawsuit concerns the city’s willful disregard of state law enabling firearms carry in municipal parks.
Cities thumb their noses at state law
As you may recall, part of House Bill 650 expands concealed carry into state and municipal parks. A weakening amendment to the bill, however, still allows municipalities and counties to ban guns in narrowly defined “recreational facilities,” defined in the statute to include only athletic fields, playgrounds, swimming pools, and athletic facilities.
Immediately, anti-gun city governments began looking for ways to undermine the law, including torturing the definition of “recreational facility” to continue banning guns in whole parks. One city even tried to redefine lakes as “swimming pools.”
Among the worst offenders is Winston-Salem, whose ordinance continues to ban concealed carry on greenways, hiking trails, and whole lakes. When RWI informed Winston-Salem of its violation of the law, the city arrogantly replied:
”… the City Council will not entertain your request that it amend its ordinance.”
Specifics of the Winston-Salem suit
Filed on behalf of plaintiffs David Childs, Shannon West, Christopher Hjelm, and Rights Watch International, the lawsuit says in part:
“Disregarding N.C.G.S. § 14-415.23, and the Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, the Defendants have illegally imposed restrictions on a citizen’s right to posses or carry a concealed handgun in city parks, lakes, greenways and other property in excess of the authority delegated to the Defendants by the General Assembly in N.C.G.S. § 14-415.23.”
Second Amendment claim benefits open carry
Item 34 of the complaint argues that a blanket gun ban in parks violates the Second Amendment rights of all who want to be able to protect themselves in such places, rather than just concealed handgun permit-holders:
“Subsection 38-10(c) and Subsection 38-10(d) of the Code City Ordinances of Winston-Salem, as amended by Ordinance No. 4735, violate Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Second, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and the corresponding provisions of the North Carolina Constitution by operating together to create a total ban of the exercise of Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms in the City’s parks.
To see the complaint and interrogatories, go to:
Please make this lawsuit happen
As anybody who has ever been involved in legal action will attest, lawsuits cost money. GRNC/RWI’s lawyer, Dan Hardway, is thoroughly pro-gun and arguably the best gun rights lawyer in the state. In terms of costs, he is doing all he can to minimize legal expenses.
But the fact is that taking this lawsuit to its conclusion, potentially including appeals, will require tens of thousands of dollars.
We need your help in winning this suit. Donations to Rights Watch International are deductible for state and federal income tax purposes, so please help now by going to:
With your support, GRNC and RWI will continue to defend your unalienable right to keep and bear arms.
Armatissimi e liberissimi,
F. Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Executive Director, Rights Watch International