Havelock makes adjustments to park gun rules

Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 05:41 PM.

In a 55-minute meeting marked by the absence of the mayor and one commissioner, the Havelock Board of Commissioners made minor adjustments in language to regulations concerning firearms in the city during its meeting Monday night.

Troy Smith, the city’s attorney, said the changes were needed for Havelock to comply with new state laws.

“The legislature has been moving faster on changes in the law in this area than we can keep up,” Smith said. “It’s one of those situations where you either like it or you don’t. You really don’t have any leeway, because any municipality or county cannot pass any ordinance that relates to the control of firearms that runs counter to that of the state law. It’s a pre-emption issue.”

One of the changes affected rules about guns in city parks, while the other impacted city residents during a declared state of emergency.

Smith said there were just three places where local regulations could prohibit a resident with a legal concealed carry permit from carrying a gun. One is athletic fields, but only during scheduled and organized athletic events.

“Let me contextualize that real quick,” said Mayor pro-tem Will Lewis. “So across the street over here at the old city park, they use that field over there occasionally for T-ball practice or cheerleading practice or small football, but right now there is no scheduled athletic event over there, so you could have a concealed weapon over there now. But when there is a scheduled cheerleading practice or football practice, there would be no concealed weapons allowed and the same with Walter B. Jones (Park).”

“So my understanding is that when there is no practice or no games in any of these areas, then they can have guns in the park,” Commissioner Karen Lewis said. “I’m not excited about that.”

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