My letter to the Garner Town Council

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 Watkins
Town Manager
Town of Garner, NC


I have sent the following email to the entire Town Council of Garner, NC.

Dear Mr Mayor, Madam Mayor Pro-Tem, and Town Councilors,
I am writing you to express my shock and outrage that a citizen of Garner was cited today for “discharge of a firearm within town limits.” According to NBC17, Perry Whitaker used a shotgun in defense of his home and his life after being shot at by two intruders in his house.
This ordinance apparently does not have an exception for self defense, just an exception for law enforcement officers. In addition to being completely unacceptable, it is also unconstitutional. DC vs. Heller established that a person has a fundamental right to own a pistol in his home for self defense. McDonald established that this right is enforceable on States and localities. It would be impossible to argue that a person has a right to own a gun (in this case a shotgun) for self defense, but does not have the right to shoot that gun in self defense.
I will be attending the next Town Council meeting on July 5th, and I intend to speak on this topic. I will expect that the Town Council will introduce a bill to modify this ordinance to make a clear exception for self defense. I will also expect to hear that the Council has explained to the Chief of Police that it is totally unacceptable to cite anyone in Garner for defending him or herself with a firearm.
I have blogged about this incident, and I will blog about your future actions in this case. I look forward to reporting that you have taken immediate steps to reform this foolish ordinance and rescind the totally unwarranted citation issued to Mr. Whitaker
Sean D Sorrentino
An NC Gun Blog
I am very pleased that I was able to express myself calmly and without recourse to foul language.

I have removed the previously posted email addresses.

6 responses to “My letter to the Garner Town Council

  1. Eric Dailey

    Watch for this story to bust out and go global. Better get in line early at the Council meeting cause there is going to be a full house. Lots of press and national media. This is going to be a big headline soon, across the USA.

  2. Because the police couldn’t catch the home invaders(prowler makes it sound less threatening), they ticket the victim. No one can accuse Garner PD of cumming back empty handed.

  3. Hey Sean, did you have an update you were going to post?

  4. @Borepatch: Sorry, I was updating the other post first. Here’s the latest

  5. Interesting… Since they didn’t catch the bad guys, he’s obviously lying, so HE gets the ticket? Is that what I’m reading??