Free armed, uniformed police escorts to be provided at the @NCStateFair

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.

18 responses to “Free armed, uniformed police escorts to be provided at the @NCStateFair

  1. I wholeheartedly agree that it is the LEAST that they can do.

  2. I live in SC, but am fairly close to the NC line. I am almost 15 whole minutes from Forest City NC.I often find myself in NC for various reasons. My tractor, mower, equipment trailer, and a few other items were purchased in NC because the dealer in Spartanburg tend to be a bit entitled. Anyway, my point is that I frequent the Northern side of the Carolina line. Been awhile since I browsed the NC regulations, but doesn’t NC have a “banned area” clause in their CWP laws that states all venues or events that charge admission are off limits” Did that change recently?

  3. It has not changed as I can tell Halon330, however state and local officials are allowed to play with the law. There is no state preemption laws. I sometimes think the locals take that to mean they can do anything they damn well please. I grew up in Rutherford County.

  4. <ISo 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.

    Then I suggest the CCW’er fair attendees wear those police escorts out.

  5. Halon: Yes, the law has changed. H937 added an exception to that law. It’s the same as our Restaurant Carry provision.

    http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_14/gs_14-269.3.html

    The law is that it’s illegal to have a firearm in an assembly that charges admission or in a place where alcohol is sold and consumed. The exception is for people who A. possess a valid NC CHP. B. People who possess a valid equivalent permit recognized by NC (which is all of them) and C. anyone who is exempt from the requirement to have a CHP (cops and the like).

    That’s what this whole fight was over. The State Fair advanced the notion that they were an “exception to the exception.” The judge agreed and refused to grant our request for a restraining order.

    TCarpy: Yes there is a State Preemption law. The judge just ignored it in his haste to prevent us from carrying at the State Fair.

    http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/statutes/statutelookup.pl?statute=14-415.23

    crazyeighter: Too bad that Troxler isn’t required to personally escort all the people he’s disarmed.

  6. I agree with using the “escorts” that were promised. When Arriving I would call and ask for the escort to meet me at my car to accompany me to the gate. Once at the gate I would ask them to continue hanging out with my family during our entire attendance, then escort back to the car. Maybe even buy them a caramel apple while following me around.

  7. LAWS mean NOTHING and are defined by anyone in power at their will….in this ‘free’ country …I said so is all one in authority needs….and if you go to court….even if you win you suit…the ‘authorities…IGNORE the law and verdict…with impunity all over this once proud land…imho

  8. Just don’t go don’t give them any of your money, money talks loudest after all.

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  10. Not going would probably be my answer, but realistically, those of us in that camp are a small percentage of the attendees. We would be rounded off in the statistical analysis of why attendance is down 0.05%. However, if 500 people demand the escort to and from their car. If there is a line of people demanding such action. If the post to social media about the snarl it causes and why… that may well get the MEDIA attention / shaming that is required.

  11. Precision270 wins the internets. He is EXACTLY correct. Our job as activists is not to attack their strength with our weakness, but to attack their weakness with our strength.

    It is fundamentally different when a restaurant or a business refuses to allow us to carry. Aside from the obvious difference between public property and private property, when a business or restaurant denies us, we still have other options. If BW3 says “No Wings for You!” we go down the street and get food at another restaurant. There is no other NC State Fair. That’s the only State Fair we have. We can’t go to the “Other State Fair,” we just get to stay home.

    Why cut off your nose to spite your face? What do we want? Why do we carry? Do we carry “just because we can?” Sure, that’s an element of it, but the major reason is so that we can defend ourselves when the State cannot or will not.

    That’s why we need to be at the Fair, demanding that the State defend us. They’ve assumed the responsibility by denying us the ability. So instead of staying home, missing the Fair, and allowing them to get away with it, go to the Fair and demand they live up to their promises.

    See how long they can cash the checks that Chief Keith’s mouth just wrote.

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  16. Has anyone done the math on number of attendees vs manpower in this department? Couldn’t find the size of the department on their website. How realistic is it to claim that they can provide protection if everyone asked for it?

  17. They couldn’t have supplied escorts for any serious number of fairgoers. At most they had about 200 officers from various agencies on duty. They just hoped that no one would ask. And given how confused the average cop was when I asked for my escort, most didn’t know that they were supposed to escort people.