I attended the NC State Fair’s pre-fair “Safety Press Conference.” The was considerable discussion of last year’s “incident” with the Vortex ride hurting riders, but I was there to discuss the NC State Fair’s anti-gun policy.
Commissioner Troxler has unilaterally decided that legal Concealed Handgun Permit holders are barred from carrying their legal concealed handguns in the State Fair. He cited the possibility of “accidental discharge,” and “losing your gun” along with making noises about how crowded the State Fair is. He went so far as to defend his policy in court, leading to a refusal of a judge to grant a restraining order against the anti-gun policy.
A judge ruled Monday that concealed handguns will not be allowed at the North Carolina State Fair, a decision that disappointed gun-rights advocates who asked for the ban to be overturned.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says he made the decision based on what he says is a vague 2013 law prohibiting people from carrying guns at events where admission is charged.
“A weapons ban is just one way to minimize risk and maintain a family-friendly environment,” he said.
Troxler says the policy has nothing to do with being against guns or the Second Amendment but that it is about concerns of accidental discharge.
“I believe that the mix of kids, guns, rides and large crowds is a bad idea,” he said.
My concern was never with having to defend myself inside the gates of the Fairgrounds. There are lots of cops about, none more than a few seconds away from you. My concern was always with the long walk back to my car with my wife. I am sure that many other CHP holders have similar concerns and are not too pleased with the Commissioner preventing them from protecting their family.
Luckily, WRAL was there to capture the exchange. My part starts at about
45:15 UPDATE: The video has been edited. I’m now at 37:40.
If, like Commissioner Troxler, you can’t hear my question, what I said was
Mr. Troxler, by actively fighting licensed concealed carry at the State Fair, and by loudly declaring to everyone that no one may carry so much as a can of pepper spray into the fair, haven’t you basically announced to every criminal in North Carolina that if they want easy targets all they need to do is lurk in the parking lots and wait for the people to come to them?
Troxler handed the question off to his Chief of Police, Joel Keith. Chief Keith said that there will be uniformed patrols of the parking lots, so I asked,
And if a person feels unsafe, and wishes to have an escort, will you send an escort with them, anybody who asks?
There you have the Department of Agriculture’s Chief of Police, Joel Keith promising not only uniformed police patrols in the parking lots, but armed escorts for anyone who asks for one.
So there you have it. Chief Keith, backed up by the Wake County Sheriff, Donnie Harrison, will provide you an armed police escort back to your vehicle. After they’ve made it illegal to defend yourself, I think it’s the least they can do.