The North Carolina State Fair is coming up next week, and there is an ongoing attempt to allow people with concealed carry permits to bring their guns to the fair. An advocacy group called Grass Roots North Carolina, along with three gun owners filed a lawsuit yesterday in the hopes of gaining the right to concealed carry at the state fair. The reason the group asked courts to step in was because there had been negotiations over being able to carry guns on the fairgrounds and carrying guns in the parking lots of the fairgrounds.
Guns have not been permitted at the state fair in decades, but the group says that a state law that was passed last year can prevent that. The state law is that people are not allowed to bring firearms into any events that charge admission, but the law changed to allowed properly permitted concealed handguns, with some exceptions. Gun advocates are asking Wake Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the fair from posting its standard ban on guns when the fair opens next Thursday. And then hopefully and order fair officials to permanently lift their ban on guns at the event.
State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is against the lawsuit and he says that the rule is not going to change. Even though the new law was vaguely worded, the intention was not to open doors to allow weapons at the fair. Troxler stated on Thursday,
“We are looking forward to defending our position that the law is unclear and explaining why our longstanding weapons policy at the State Fair should remain in place. “We go to great lengths to provide a safe environment at the State Fair. Our efforts include a large law enforcement presence and the use of metal detectors. The fair’s weapons policy, which has been in place for decades, also plays an important role in maintaining that safe environment.”
However, he also stated that he may allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring guns to the fair, but only if a court or the state legislature ordered it. If this were to occur, a fair spokesman said that they may require more metal detectors and more security to staff the fairgrounds.
According to the gun rights advocates, they believe that allowing the ban to continue will violate their rights, and the 350,000 other North Carolina concealed handgun permit holders, to protect themselves and their families.