Monthly Archives: February 2011

Johnston County Firearms Ordinance Update

Sorry I’m not getting around to posting my summary of our meeting with Commissioner Jeff Carver until now. Tonight, the second meeting of the “Good Neighbor Firearms Ordinance” (how Orwellian of them) working group is scheduled to take place at 6:00pm, so I figured this would be a good time for another post.

Our meeting with Jeff Carver was civil, but the biggest concern I have is that the Board seems determined to pass something, anything, I think to save face. They were blind-sided by the opposition and instead of backing off, dug their heels in. Once, during our conversation with Carver, I started to say that, “sometimes the best thing for government to do is…,” and then he completed my sentence with “nothing.” I can’t get inside his head and figure out what he was thinking, but I got the impression that he had heard it many times before, but, yet, didn’t like hearing again.

I got the impression that a goodly portion of the calls the Sheriff’s office was getting were from new residents of the county who came from anti-gun bastions like New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California, who were uncomfortable with the sound of guns. I told Carver that, to be frank, whenever I hear the phrase “let freedom ring” it is near impossible for me to not think of the sound of guns. The sound of gunfire is the sound of freedom. He couldn’t disagree.

But he did indicate that it’s not just new residents moving in that have called. It’s also long time residents who don’t like what they are seeing regarding the number of new developments building up around them, closer than they are accustomed. They can live with it, but there are apparently people doing dumb things and shooting in areas where its clearly not safe. The claim is that the Sheriff’s office can’t doing anything about those calls. No one has said why reckless endangerment or disorderly conduct laws already on the books can’t be used. And there’s always civil action, as well.

Johnston County has kindly posted the contact information of all members of the working group, including the citizen members. Below is the email I just sent first to the non-commissioner members of the working group, and then later decided to send it to all seven commissioners again with an introduction.

I will be attending the meeting tonight and will post an update (eventually) on the results. FYI, Knitebane also posted on this and will be attending the meeting tonight as well.

(Oh, and before anyone points it out, yes, I’m aware of the logic mistake I made indicating that especially in winter the “one hour after sunset” rule limited low-light/no-light self-defense training. Doh. Of course, one hour after sunset is the same amount of time of darkness or near darkness, regardless of the time of year. Nevertheless, the point is still valid that one our of darkness is too restrictive.)

The message below was just sent to the non-commissioner members of the working group formed to discuss the proposed firearms ordinance. After re-reading it, I saw no reason not to send it to all the members of the Board as well.

I am opposed to this ordinance. And the name, in fact, is quite Orwellian. No matter how you modify it, I will not buy that it is not an anti-gun ordinance. Your own gun ownership or NRA memberships do not give you a pass.

Want to convince me you are pro-gun? You can start by removing the restrictions on where I can carry, openly or concealed, i.e.: Johnston County buildings and require the Sheriff’s office to remove the no-guns sign from its building. Oh the irony that in order carry concealed, I must obtain a permit from my local Sheriff (a state issue I hope will be addressed as it has been in Arizona recently) and in order to do it, I must enter a building where I am required to disarm.

I, and many people I know in Johnston County, will be watching how you vote on this and taking it into account in the next election. Follow the example of Lincoln County and kill this proposal now, before ever sees the light of a public hearing.

Here’s what I sent to other members of the working group:
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To: Citizen members of the working group of the Johnston County “Good Neighbor” Firearms Ordinance

My original feedback to all seven Johnston County Commissioners can be found on my blog at http://markofafreeman.blogspot.com/2010/12/johnston-county-nc-attempts-to-ban-spit.html.

Given the short time frame, since your next working group meeting is tonight, I wanted to get this out to raise at least one important question.

I’ve already spoken with Commissioner Jeff Carver on the phone and met with him face to face a few weeks ago about this. Our conversation was civil, but I’m still concerned about the intentions of the Board. Mr. Carver did indicate to me that every single person on the working group is ‘pro-gun’. For that I am grateful, but still not willing to just leave this in the hands of the working group and the Board and not continue to make sure my voice is heard.

My concern is that, as I made clear to Mr. Carver, sometimes the right thing for government to do is NOTHING. And if I read the summary of the last working group correctly, Alan Mims ‘clarified’ the intent of the working group. And that is to see if we can modify the ordinance to be acceptable to all parties. From my conversation with Mr. Carver, and that statement from Mr. Mims, I have to wonder if the Board is intent on passing SOMETHING, no matter what the cost.

As you can see from my blog post, I made it clear what that cost may be…the commissioners who vote yes may not run unopposed in the next election. Yes, that was regarding the original draft of the ordinance, but I’m a little more than miffed that this Board seems to want to pass *something* to save face. I have to wonder if this whole idea of a working group was for nothing more than to save face.

Johnston County should follow the example of Lincoln County three years ago (see here: http://www.lincolntribune.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=8205) and kill this idea now.

Prohibiting shooting after one hour after sunset, drastically limits low-light and no-light self defense training, particularly in the winter. Other than noise after a much later hour, there’s no legitimate reason for a restriction like this, and a generic noise ordinance that specifically does NOT target firearms can deal with that.

The alcohol or controlled substance issue creates a problem for those on prescription medication or those who simply have a glass a wine with dinner and then, possibly, need to dispatch a pest out in the barn. For truly unsafe activity, existing drunk and disorderly laws can deal with that.

With the radical change from the first draft to the current draft of this ordinance, its clear that the Board cannot come to terms with the truth that they cannot define what the true problem is and that when you come right down to it, there is nothing that can be drafted that isn’t already handled by current Johnston County ordinances or state law.

What I think is going on here is the Commissioners want to give law enforcement yet another tool to enforce ‘neighborly’ behavior. Of course, if it’s forced, it’s not neighborly. Additionally, with all due respect for what our deputies do, none of my liberties are up for negotiation to make law enforcement easier. Law enforcement, when you have to honor the rights of free men, is not easy. No one can deny that the quickest way to make the job of law enforcement easy is to ignore the US Constitution. Does anyone considering this ordinance think that is a good idea? Is the true intent of this ordinance to make law enforcement easier?

For those who don’t understand the enemies of freedom, they forget that those enemies may some time in the future control the levers of the law (as they do in much of the country). If you want to craft a law, a good guiding principle is to consider that law in the hands of your worst enemy. Once you do that, the hope is that your enthusiasm for ‘passing SOMETHING’ should diminish. An Ayn Rand quote from Atlas Shrugged comes to mind here:

Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.

I am going to try to attend the meeting tonight and hope to get a chance to re-iterate publicly what I’ve written here if the points are not brought up. But please, use any of the content of this note to bring up the points yourselves to push the idea of passing NO ordinance.

Thank you.

There was an article I read a while back that I think was linked by David where a cop was quoted as saying, “officer safety trumps rights.” Interestingly, when I did a web search on the phrase “officer safety trumps rights” including the quotes, I came up with one match. I know that the officer.com forum in the past has been an, let’s just say enlightening peek into the minds of many of the “Only Ones” mentality. I am not all endorsing the killing of an officer during a routine traffic stop, but I do hope that no Johnston County deputies hold the view that their own safety on the job trumps rights. If they do, let it be known that I consider them oathbreakers and traitors of the republic.