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Concealed carry of firearms approved in county buildings, pending guidelines

Beaufort County employees could soon be allowed to carry concealed firearms in county buildings, pending the submission and approval of safety guidelines.

On Monday, in a 4-2 vote with Chairman Frankie Waters absent from the meeting, the Beaufort County Commissioners voted in favor of a resolution to lift restrictions on county employees with concealed carry permits bringing their concealed firearms into county buildings. The exceptions are all of the county’s school buildings, including the Beaufort County Community College campus, as well as the courthouse. Commissioner Stan Deatherage proposed the resolution.

Voting for the motion were Deatherage, Hood Richardson, John Rebholz and Randy Walker. Voting against the motion were Vice Chairman Jerry Langley and Ed Booth.

There is some work to be done before the resolution can go into effect. According to the document, County Manager Brian Alligood must devise safety guidelines for eligible employees, and those guidelines must be presented to the commissioners for approval in open session.

Deatherage said the resolution is a way to “harden our people, our employees.”

“If they are duly licensed to have a concealed carry permit,” Deatherage said, “they can bring that permit into those buildings to protect themselves — and by virtue of protecting themselves, they’ll protect their fellow workmates.”

“… We’re talking about some crazy times in America,” he added. “People are going to be hurt, and they’re going to see government going on, taking their money, taking their tax dollars. They’re losing property. We’re giving people raises every year. They’re going to feel like they’re being left out, that’s how some people are gonna feel. Do you really want that person to have the ability to go in and shoot up one of our facilities? I don’t.  Nobody should ever take somebody else’s life unless it’s pure defense.”

Alligood recommended that the board get county attorney David Francisco involved in the development of the resolution in order to make sure it is a “solid, legally appropriate” ordinance. Alligood noted that Pitt County passed a similar ordinance in 2015.