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Blowing Rock Town Council To Address Firearm Ban at Memorial Park, To Hear Second Reading Tonight

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 12, 2013. The Blowing Rock Town Council will undergo its second reading of an amendment to a local ordinance that reverses the firearm ban, including concealed-carry, at Memorial Park off of Main Street at tonight’s council meeting that begins at 5:30 p.m.

The town is amending the ordinance to comply with state law. 

In October, the town council voted 3-2 to pass the amended ordinance with Council Members Albert Yount and Doug Matheson voting nay. The vote didn’t pass on first reading because a super majority of at least four of five voting members is needed to pass on the first reading. 

Tonight’s second reading will only need a three-fifths majority. 


For more details on the ordinance, read an article prior to the October meeting  

Oct. 8, 2013. To comply with state legislation passed earlier this year, Blowing Rock will amend a local ordinance to reverse the banning of firearms, including concealed-carry, at Memorial Park off of Main Street at a Blowing Rock Town Council meeting tonight, according to Planning Director Kevin Rothrock, 

This comes nearly two years after the Blowing Rock Town Council passed a motion in February 2012 to ban firearms in Memorial Park, Robbins Pool and Davant Field, which was enacted after the “Castle Doctrine” state legislation allowed municipalities to identify recreational facilities where concealed handguns could be banned starting December 2011. 

In 2012, the motion passed 3-2 after a public hearing involving 30 citizens on both sides of the issue and discussion from town staff and council members that lasted nearly two hours.

Commissioners Dan Phillips and Tommy Klutz were in opposition to the gun ban, citing the 2nd Amendment and public safety. Commissioners Doug Matheson, Albert Yount and Jim Steele voted in favor of the measure, also citing public safety as well as feedback from citizens who didn’t want guns allowed on recreational grounds in Blowing Rock, according to meeting minutes

The town can still impose a ban on athletic facilities, athletic fields and swimming pools under the current law, however playgrounds have been removed from the list of recreational facilities where municipalities can enact the ban.

Thus the ordinance needs to be amended, Rothrock said. 

A section of the ordinance passed in 2012 noted that firearms are banned from the “Memorial Park property specifically including the playground, basketball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe pit, gazebo, and restroom facilities, and generally including property bounded by the rock planter wall above the Main Street sidewalk, the park side of the sidewalk between the Martin House and Memorial Park, Wallingford Street and Park Avenue.”

Under the amended draft ordinance up for adoption tonight to comply with state law, the aforementioned section regarding the Memorial Park property has been deleted.

The draft ordinance up for adoption also amends the language about limitations of possessing a firearm at Davant Field during scheduled athletic events and further clarifies how firearms can be properly stored in a vehicle within town limits.

Those two amended sections of the draft ordinance up for adoption tonight now read:

  • Davant Athletic Field and the Davant Athletic Building restroom facilities, when scheduled for use through the Town of Blowing Rock or Watauga County;
  • Nothing herein is intended to prohibit a person from storing a firearm within a locked vehicle within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or area within or on the motor vehicle while the vehicle is on the aforementioned properties within Town limits in accordance with N.C.G. S. 14-415.23.

The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8. To read the entire ordinance, click here: http://www.townofblowingrock.com/supdoc/2013-12.pdf