Resident: Orange proposed gun limits 'draconian'
Posted February 19, 2016
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Orange County is eclectic: College town and bucolic farm country. And the county shades blue, both in the Carolina blue of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and in the political landscape. But sometimes, town and country clash.
Earl McKee, chairman of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, is among those who thinks a recent proposal to limit gun use went too far.
"These regulations as presented were too onerous," McKee said. "They were over the top. They were excessive."
The proposal would have banned gun owners from firing their weapons for recreational purposes between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m., and it would have required them to build a berm 15 feet high.
There were other mandates Orange County resident Chris Weaver deemed "draconian," like a requirement that there be no structure within 1,000 feet of where shots are fired.
Commissioners voted against the new limits in a packed meeting, but Weaver worries what might have happened had fewer people been in attendance.
"The only time the commissioners act the way they did is when the people show up," he said. "Had no one shown up, it would have passed.”
McKee says all the public angst stems from a proposed land-use ordinance crafted months ago. In it, there's wording that addresses commercial shooting ranges that might locate in the county.
McKee said commissioners never intended to take away rights from individual gun owners.
"Our board intent was not to restrict it (recreational use). Our board intent was to find a middle path,” he said.
Weaver agreed that compromise is necessary.
"There are gonna be the fools once in a while who do stupid things," he said.
To address that possibility and complaints from residents about noise, McKee said commissioners would form a committee to consider whether an ordinance is needed.
"And we do that with public input and public participation,” he added.