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Judge upholds ban on concealed weapons at State Fair

Posted October 13, 2014

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— 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.

Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said he believed "it would be unwise and imprudent to allow firearms into the State Fair."

An attorney for the state argued that people just want to go to the fair, eat a fried Twinkie and enjoy the rides. The attorney warned that people often lose items while on rides.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as it has in previous years, said it plans to put up signs warning against lawful conceal carry at the 11-day event and will ask anyone with a weapon going through metal detectors at fair gates to leave it in their vehicle.

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 released a statement after Monday's ruling, thanking the judge "for upholding the longstanding policy banning weapons at the State Fair and for issuing his decision so quickly."

Gun-rights group Grass Roots North Carolina says there is nothing in the law that requires Troxler to prohibit guns. The group said it believes the commissioner is choosing to keep permit-holders from protecting their families.

"I don't know why people should be concerned about concealed handgun permit holders at the State Fair," Grass Roots N.C. President Paul Valone said. "They've been carrying next to them in grocery store lines since 1995, all without incident."

Fair officials said they heard from dozens of people who said they wouldn't attend the fair if concealed weapons were allowed. 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.

198 Comments

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  • Larry Wiandt Oct 15, 2014
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    Why do you not want to be able to defend yourself if a crazed nut decides to start randomly start shooting people.

  • Larry Wiandt Oct 15, 2014
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    Wow you don't know much about firearms or concealed carry, do you? Why would a firearm fall out of my pocket but not my wallet?? And if it did, it'll just fall on the ground. It won't discharge due to the design of firearms.

    Sorry, didn't meant to bring facts into the discussion.

  • Phyllis Nunn Oct 15, 2014
    user avatar

    Agree. I will not attend if guns are allowed. Yep, will take my chances that a criminal will pull his illegal weapon on me.

  • juliomercado Oct 14, 2014

    I am as pro second amendment as you will find, but IMHO, this judge got it RIGHT! When you factor in riding on rides that make things jar around, and at times fall out, why in the world would you want a fire arm on you?

  • Pensive01 Oct 14, 2014

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    As far as the problems at the Florida State Fair go a large chunk could easily be fixed if the state simply changed a portion of their admission policy, which is made clearly evident in the following article. http://tbo.com/news/crime/wilding-youths-overwhelmed-deputies-at-state-fair-20140210/

  • shawn36003 Oct 14, 2014

    A gun has no place at the Fair!! The right to carry does not give you the right to take that gun to every event you go to. Just plain crazy to take a gun to the fair.

  • Linda Cornetti Oct 14, 2014
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    Note to gunslingers: you can already pack heat just about everywhere you go across this great state, so what're you griping about?! There is nothing at the fair that will be enhanced, improved, or sweetened by ya'll strapping on your gats and strutting through the flower show. This will be the 60th year I have had the great good fortune of visiting the fair and except for a fire that broke out back in the early '60s, in which nobody was hurt, the worst thing I've ever seen is barf on the Midway. So take Roscoe to the Lord's house, as you wish. To your favorite eating places and ballgames, but leave me and my grandchildren alone for the run of the fair. Your boogers need you worse at home than we need you in Raleigh. I'm just grateful every day that I don't live in as scary and threatening a world as ya'll do.

  • nyrfan1 Oct 14, 2014

    there is no need to carry at the fair. if there was that much crime that warranted it no one would go.

  • Tanya Rose Oct 14, 2014
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    Nope. This in no way, shape or form restricts your right to buy or own a gun. Weapons have never been allowed at the State Fair so nothing is being taken away from you. You don't have to go to the Fair if not being able to bring a gun is such a huge deal to you.

  • 678devilish Oct 14, 2014

    Posted by sabsco

    Your comment is way off the line. People are generally safe at these fairs.

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