You Don’t Want To Go There, Mr. Bothwell

Cecil Bothwell is a City Councilman in Asheville, North Carolina. He also ran for Congress in the 11th District but was trounced in the Democratic primary. He is proudly the left-most member of the Asheville City Council.

Today Bothwell called for banning gun shows on city-owned property. He wants to use a city ordinance that prohibits the possession of firearms in parks and other city-owned property (other than concealed carry holders in parks.)

From a report in the Asheville Citizen-Times:

City Council member Cecil Bothwell today called for the City of Asheville to ban gun shows from City-owned properties, including the WNC Agricultural Center.

“Our municipal code specifically prohibits the carrying of weapons on City-owned properties. I don’t understand why that law is not being enforced,” Bothwell said.

The City of Asheville’s Civic Center and WNC Agricultural Center have both been rented to gun show promoters in recent years, despite this long-standing ban.

“Many citizens have contacted Council members asking for action in the wake of the Newtown school murders, but the City has very little ability to regulate guns, permitting or background checks under North Carolina and United States law,” Bothwell said. “However, we do have the power to enforce the laws that are on the books.

“Gun shows not only promote the ownership and use of weapons, including the glamorization of the assault-type, semi-automatic killing machines used in too many mass murders, but sellers at shows are not required to perform background checks on buyers. That means that guns intended for rapid fire killing may easily fall into the hands of persons who are mentally unstable or who have criminal intent.”

“This is one place we can easily draw the line,” Bothwell added. “The law is already on the books.”

 The ignorance in Bothwell’s statement astounds.

First, as a councilman, Bothwell ought to know what properties the city owns or doesn’t own. The WNC Agricultural Center is owned by the State of North Carolina and operated by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Second, his statement about background checks and “rapid fire killing” is so ludicrous that I’ll just pass on it other than to say that FFLs are required to make NICS checks regardless of where the sale takes place.

Third, and on this I might excuse Bothwell, given Nordyke v. King was in the 9th Circuit. Despite being in another circuit, Asheville would be on very shaky legal ground to try and ban gun shows on city property. I don’t think the City of Asheville wants to be in Federal court for 13 years like Alameda County. Precedent is against them. More on Nordyke can be found here.

4 thoughts on “You Don’t Want To Go There, Mr. Bothwell”

  1. I am a legal gun owner who submitted to background checks, completed the appropriate training, and take gun ownership seriously. As law-abiding citizens we are expected to navigate the labyrinth of conflicting state laws regarding firearms and we do successfully everyday. Although many of these laws are conflicting between neighboring states, we still respect them and abide by them everyday.

    With 300 million firearms in private hands (one-third of them pistols), the overwhelming majority of gun owners ARE responsible, law-abiding citizens, which is why horrific massacres are not commonplace, but rather terrible outliers that can never be legislated away (e.g. DC, Chicago, and “Gun Free Zones”).

    For several examples for the recent use of firearms for defensive purposes not typically reported by the national media please visit: and forward this site to others to whom this information may be useful. @forceequalizer

  2. Jeepers….killing machines??? You want killing machines?? Bows and arrows,through history, are responsible for more premature deaths then any firearm…the same can be said for swords,spears.halberds ,etc etc. Take away the guns and lets go back to the good old days of cutting and stabbing…..

  3. You are required to present either a pistol purchase permit or a concealed carry permit for ALL sales of pistols in NC – even at gun shows. As mentioned above, ALL FFLs, even at gun shows have to run background checks for long guns.

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