The Town of Garner, NC says NO to self defense (*Video*)

Further UPDATE: Read the Garner PD press release HERE

UPDATE: 6-30-11 12:36pm: I just received this email from Hardin Watkins, the Town Manager of Garner. Please take the time to read his response:

Mr. Sorrentino-
Thank you for your message regarding the incident on Nallane Drive here in Garner yesterday.   I’m responding on behalf of the Town of Garner and our elected officials that received your message earlier today.
There are a number of details that have been left out of the reports on NBC 17.
The Town has a self-defense clause in our Ordinance. Section 18-1(d) states: “The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit the lawful discharge of a firearm by any lawful officer in the discharge of his duty or by any person in the lawful defense of persons and property.” 
At this time, the police investigation seems to indicate that Mr. Whitaker was not shooting in self defense. 
Our Police Department is acting appropriately.  The NBC 17 report and some Facebook posts make some assumptions/statements without having all of the facts of the case.
The key points that I’m able to share at this time are:
1) The Town has a self-defense clause in our Ordinance;
2) All questions about the investigation into this case should be directed to the Police Department – Lt. Wayne Moore is the Department’s public information officer.
Please bear with us as we work on the investigation.  The Town will share information at the point in time that the investigation is complete.
-Hardin
Hardin Watkins
Town Manager
Town of Garner, NC

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UPDATE 6-30-11 11:45 AM:
I have just spoken to the Town Manager, Hardin Watkins in his office. There is an exception in the Town ordinances for defense of self and property. Mr. Watkins confirms the email I was sent by City Councilman Gra Singleton.

Section 18-1 (d) states:” The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit the lawful discharge of a firearm by any lawful officer in the discharge of his duty or by any person in the lawful defense of persons and property.”

There is more to this story than I can currently report. I will update later, in this post and as a separate post, as to the particulars as they are officially released. The bottom line appears to be that the reporter was incorrect when he reported that there is no self defense section. I have left the email addresses below the post, but I have blacked them out. Highlight them to read. Just don’t send them any emails unless it is to thank the Town for being polite and helpful to a blogger who turned up in their offices demanding answers.

More will be released later.

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Can you explain this? There is a town ordinance that makes it illegal to discharge a firearm within the town limits of Garner. Unless you are a police officer. Apparently that even includes self defense.
I am trying to express my feelings about this without using a string of profanity.
I am having trouble coming up with anything to say that will not cause my mother to drive 12 hours to wash out my keyboard with soap. You can bet that I will be at the next town meeting demanding that this unconstitutional infringement on my right to self defense be immediately repealed.
I will try to express myself in that town meeting without screaming obscenities at the Town Council.
No promises, though.

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Read the UPDATE above the post before sending any emails to the Town.

UPDATE: Town Meeting July 5th at 7PM.


Town of Garner
900 Seventh Ave.
Garner, NC 27529



I have removed the previously posted email addresses. I will still be attending the Town Meeting, though I now intend to say thank you to the Town Council and their administrative staff for their professional handling of this sitution

11 responses to “The Town of Garner, NC says NO to self defense (*Video*)

  1. Sean, if you go to the meeting, feel free to toss out the term “the Massachusetts of Dixie”. You may need to point out that this is not an expression of approbation …

  2. @Borepatch: I am hoping that they get buried with enough emails that they change the ordinance. Hopefully I won’t have to insult them that badly.

  3. They tried to pass something similar in Wesley Chapel, Sean, but it was a backdoor to shut down a private range. NC law prohibits existing ranges from being shut down due to noise complaints from new neighbors. So instead they passed a law prohibiting shooting except for hunting and self defense. It ended up getting thrown out by the court.

  4. Actually, there is an exception for self-defense in the MA laws against the discharge of firearms…

    So in this case, MA is actually *better* than NC…

  5. UPDATE: Read the update. There is an exception in the town ordinance. MUCH more to the story. The NBC17 report is wrong!

  6. I wonder if the town ordinance really means “lawful defense of persons and property”. That language seems to be historical boilerplate; many states and towns have something similar, but outside of Texas they don’t really mean it so far as property is concerned. Here in Massachusetts, in the right situation a person can use force up to and including lethal force to protect a person but NOT property.

  7. The link to the Garner PD press release doesn’t work – at least on my computer it merely returns me to this same page.

  8. @Earl: Sorry. Fixed it.

  9. Props to teh Town Manager for responding.