Garner’s town council updated its gun ordinances Tuesday to adjust to a new state law passed this summer that goes into effect on Oct. 1.
The law expands the number of public places where people with permits to carry concealed handguns can bring their weapons. It explicitly bans local government from banning concealed handguns in parks and greenways.
As a result, the town can no longer prohibit legal concealed handguns on playgrounds and athletic fields not hosting town-scheduled events at the time. Police Chief Brandon Zuidema recommended the council stick to state law.
“Each side has a strong opinion on (the issue). There was no pressing agenda as a council except to say we wanted to be in as strict compliance with state law as possible,” Councilman Buck Kennedy said.
Carrying a concealed weapon with a permit at White Deer Park, for example, becomes legal next month, whether at the playground or on a greenway.
Zuidema said he had no concerns about the changes.
“We will continue to enforce state law,” Zuidema said. “This is minor in comparison to what happened in 2011.”
In 2011, legislation allowed permit holders to take guns onto some state property including parks and court property if secured in their vehicles, and validated all other states’ concealed-weapon permits in the state, regardless of reciprocity, among other provisions.
It stopped local governments from prohibiting weapons at county recreation facilities. It also allowed someone subject to a domestic violence order to “own” a gun, though such a person could not lawfully possess, purchase or receive one. The laws also enhanced penalties for some gun violations.
The legislation passed this summer gained notoriety for allowing legally carried guns in restaurants and bars, unless prohibited by the owner. Guns will also be permissible in closed compartments of cars on school grounds, from public elementary schools to universities. H.B. 937 also closed a handgun permit loophole and strengthened federal background checks.
Zuidema said he was not aware of any issues in Garner caused by concealed weapon laws.
Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland