GRNC On Gun Shows In Asheville

Grass Roots North Carolina has noticed Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell’s attempt to shut down gun shows in Asheville. They released the alert below last night.

If you happen to be going to the Asheville Gun Show this weekend, I’ll be there on Saturday morning volunteering at the GRNC table. Stop by and say hello.

Councilman fails to understand the law in the latest attempt to ban guns…

In one of the most ridiculous knee-jerk political reactions to recent shootings which have drawn national attention, Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell led an attempt this week to use an Asheville city ordinance that bans guns from city-owned property to block gun shows in the city. Bothwell seems to think that distorting this ordinance should be just the ticket to capitalize on national grief over the Newtown shootings in order to change gun laws, but there are a couple of major issues he failed to recognize before stepping into the limelight with his scheme.

State-wide uniformity of local regulations

One such issue Councilman Bothwell failed to take into consideration is that North Carolina General Statute §14409.40, “Statewide uniformity of local regulation,” states, in part:

“(d) No county or municipality, by zoning or other ordinance, shall regulate in any manner firearms shows with regulations more stringent than those applying to shows of other types of items.”

What this means is that gun shows may not be regulated any differently than any other type of show that is allowed to use the same facilities. In other words, if they wanted to ban gun shows, they would have to ban virtually any other kind of show from the property. State law prevents any county or municipality from treating gun shows any differently than an antique show or an agricultural event.

City or State owned?

One other issue that Councilman Bothwell and other city council members failed to understand is that the facility in question, the WNC Agricultural Center, is not owned by the city of Asheville! That’s right, the WNC Agricultural center is state-owned property, operated by the state. In their blind zeal to remove your rights as gun owners through any scheme they can cook up, the Asheville City Council is trying to enforce a city ordinance which bans guns on city property in a building which is actually owned by the State of North Carolina! What’s more, the WNC Agricultural Center isn’t even located inside Asheville city limits!

GRNC President responds

In a letter sent by GRNC President Paul Valone to Asheville City Attorney Bob Oast, Valone stated that these kinds of actions are clearly irresponsible and a direct violation of state law:

To: Robert W. Oast, Jr., Asheville City Attorney
From: F. Paul Valone, President, Grass Roots North Carolina
Re: Proposal to restrict gun shows at Western North Carolina Agricultural Center
Cc: Mayor

“Dear Mr. Oast:

According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the Asheville City Council is contemplating enforcing an ordinance in such a way as to restrict gun shows from the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. Accordingly, please allow me to point out §14409.40, “Statewide uniformity of local regulation,” which says in relevant part:

“(d) No county or municipality, by zoning or other ordinance, shall regulate in any manner firearms shows with regulations more stringent than those applying to shows of other types of items.”

Our Director of Legal Affairs advises me that the only way Asheville could ban gun shows at the facility would be to ban all shows at the facility. If that is your intent, please let us know.

Otherwise, please be advised that any attempt to limit gun shows in violation of §14409.40(d) will be met not only political opposition targeting the City Council, but also legal action similar to what we filing this week against the city of Winston-Salem.

As one pundit recently pointed out, the similar case of Nordyke v. King kept Alameda County in court for thirteen years before they finally lost. I’m sure we wouldn’t want to tie up the Asheville City Council for such an extended period; it might distract them from the fine work they do.”

Show your solidarity!

You can do your part to stop this attempt to block your rights as gun owners. While the Asheville City Council attempts to use city laws to override state law, you can show your resolve by attending the gun show scheduled for the weekend of January 5th & 6th at the WNC Agricultural Center. Volunteers are needed to help at the GRNC table. If you would like to volunteer a few hours at the GRNC table, please contact Cliff Odom via email at .


IMMEDIATELY CONTACT THE ASHEVILLE CITY COUNCIL: Use the contact information provided and deliver the message below

PLAN TO ATTEND THE ASHEVILLE GUN SHOW: You can make a difference by attending the Ashville gun show to show your resolve against these incredible schemes

Support GRNC!: GRNC needs your support to help combat the efforts against your rights as gun owners. Join or renew your membership!


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Suggested Subject: “Hands Off Gun Shows”

Asheville City Council Members:

I urge you to respect the rights of North Carolina gun owners. Councilman Bothwell’s poorly considered attack on gun shows is both misdirected and illegal. North Carolina’s preemption statute (§14409.40) clearly does not allow you this latitude. Also there facts that the WNC facilities are state-owned and OUTSIDE of the Asheville city limits.

Any attempts to violate my rights as a gun owner will be remembered at the polls. I will be following your actions through the alerts of Grass Roots North Carolina.


A Concerned North Carolina Voter


Mayor Terry Bellamy Contact Information:
Mail: P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802
Phone: (828) 259-5600
Fax: (828) 259-5499
Personal Web site:

Vice-Mayor Esther Manheimer contact information:
Mail: 11 North Market Street, Asheville, NC 28801
P.O. Box 7376, Asheville, NC 28802-7376
Phone: (828) 258-2991

Councilman Cecil Bothwell contact information:
Mail: 54 Fulton Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Phone: (828) 713-8840

Councilman Jan Davis contact information:
Mail: 209 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801
Phone: (828) 253-5634
Fax: (828) 253-8029
Personal Web site:

Councilman Marc Hunt contact information:
Mail: 55 Cambridge Road, Asheville, NC 28804
Phone: (828) 273-2172

Councilman Chris Pelly contact information:
Mail: 95 Cisco Road, Asheville, NC 28805
Phone: (828) 231-3704

Councilman Gordon Smith contact information:
Mail: 49 Euclid Blvd., Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: (828) 279-2551