Grass Roots North Carolina filed suit last week seeking a temporary injunction to keep the North Carolina State Fair from being posted against carry. HB 937 made changes to the law that should have prevented Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler (R-NC) from posting the fairgrounds. I say should have.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens refused to grant the temporary injunction in a ruling this afternoon.
Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said he believed “it would be unwise and imprudent to allow firearms into the State Fair.”
This is truly a case of the law being what the judges say it is despite the clear wording of North Carolina statutes. Given that Judge Stephens was re-elected in 2012, he won’t be coming up for re-election again until 2020 as Superior Court judges in North Carolina serve eight year terms.
Ag Commissioner Troxler is happy about the decision saying, “”for upholding the longstanding policy banning weapons at the State Fair and for issuing his decision so quickly.” Troxler has contended that the changes in the NC General Statutes brought about by HB 937 are “vague”.
Troxler, who says he is a gun owner himself, argued that the law was badly-worded and legislators had not intended to allow guns at the fair. He said they didn’t belong there, citing the huge crowds and the potential for guns to fall out during midway rides during the annual rain of wallets, keys and change, and then go off.
At the press conference Monday, Troxler said that no matter which way the ruling went this week, there will be metal detectors at all the entrance gates. And after the fair, he said, he would go back to the General Assembly to ask legislators to be clear about what they think the law should say about guns at the fair.
“Either the legislature believes there needs to be concealed carry at the fair or not,” he said.
Troxler, it should be noted, is a practicing farmer as required by Chapter 106 of the North Carolina General Statutes. He is not an attorney. Thus, any claims to the law being vague should be taken with a grain of salt.
The State Fair Facebook page is getting lots of feedback on their announcement of the decision in which they said they are glad Judge Stephens didn’t grant the injunction.
So the North Carolina State Fair will be a gun-free zone. As to the reality of gun-free zones, I’d urge you to listen to what Massad Ayoob said about the recent Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago. His comments start at the 1:14:45 mark and are well worth a listen.