Ordinance is not needed

Published 12:13 am Tuesday, November 1, 2011

To the Editor:

The Washington City Council has asked the city attorney to draft a proposed ordinance (a law) prohibiting individuals from carrying weapons in six specific recreational and park areas. This is a provision that originated in Raleigh, giving local governmental entities the option of passing similar legislation. On the surface it seems reasonable. Signs would be placed in the designated areas that would describe this prohibition. (As a matter of information, there are already 89 other various signs in the McConnell Sports Complex.) But common sense dictates that this is poorly thought-out legislation in that law-abiding citizens would not, for example, be able to carry a handgun otherwise legal (with a permit) for their personal protection. However, a criminal or deranged individual who tend to ignore laws, could go into these “gun-free” zones knowing that law-abiding individuals would not have any weapons with which they could protect themselves or their families from harm. Remember, the shootings at the Columbine school, Virginia Tech College, and Fort Hood military reservation, all occurred in government facilities where the private possession of firearms was prohibited. No one — including politicians, the police, or the individual citizen — can predict where the next deranged serial killer will attack.

Citizens are becoming more aware of the fact that law enforcement normally can come to their aid only during or after a crime has been committed. To give an example of citizen interest in self-protection, the Pitt County Wildlife Club held its semi-annual Ladies’ Day event on Oct. 1. This event is conducted by club members, many of which are NRA-sanctioned range safety officers. The event is open to all ladies who pay a nominal fee to cover lunch and ammunition. They are given the opportunity to fire and learn how to safely handle several different weapons. On Oct. 1, this all-day event hosted 110 women who came from surrounding counties. It is evidence that not only men, but law-abiding women are becoming more interested in self-defense.

Let the Washington City Council know that this proposed ordinance, the roots of which originated in Raleigh, is not needed any more than is a new police station.