Local News

Lee County lifts concealed weapons ban in public buildings

Posted October 8, 2014 12:32 p.m. EDT
Updated October 8, 2014 6:40 p.m. EDT

— New gun rules are coming to Lee County after county leaders voted 4-3 this week to lift a ban on bringing concealed handguns into county buildings.

The measure, approved Monday by the Board of Commissioners, applies to those with valid permits.

Weapons, however, won't be allowed in schools, courthouses, law enforcement agencies or any building also housing state or federal offices.

The change goes into effect Jan. 1.

Monday's move makes Lee County the fifth in the state with such an ordinance. Alamance, Cherokee, Henderson and Rowan counties have similar.

Lee County Commission Chairman Charlie Parks said there were several reasons for relaxing the ordinance, including putting the county in alignment with a state law passed in 2013 that allows local governments to make such decisions.

Another reason for the ordinance, Parks said, is to "have another layer of security," because people already bring concealed weapons into government buildings, despite signs on doors that prohibit them.

"We've already had reports of that – about people who don't have permits and are actually illegal in what they're doing," Parks said. "What the signs do – they just tell the criminal that it's a target-rich environment, where they have the ability to utilize their weapons if they want to."