Concealed carry resolution approved; goes into effect April 1

Published 12:40 am Tuesday, March 2, 2021

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As of April 1, the carrying of concealed handguns will no longer be prohibited on or in Beaufort County property, except in places where doing so is unlawful.

That means anyone with a concealed carry permit will be able to tote a concealed weapon in many county buildings, except the courthouse, jail, school campuses, or other locations where doing so is against state or federal laws.

With a 5-2 vote Monday night, the commissioners approved a resolution to no longer exercise their authority to prohibit concealed handguns on county property. Chairman Frankie Waters, Stan Deatherage, Hood Richardson, John Rebholz and Randy Walker voted in favor of the resolution. Vice chairman Jerry Langley and Ed Booth voted against it.

County Manager Brian Alligood and County Attorney David Francisco crafted the resolution after being directed to do so by the commissioners. 

The commissioners also approved three proposals tied to the resolution. Each of the three proposals passed 5-2, with no changes in individual votes.

The first approved proposal is a new personnel policy allowing duly licensed employees of Beaufort County to carry concealed handguns.  The policy states that the county won’t prohibit any employee who has a concealed handgun permit from carrying a concealed handgun, same for any employee who lives in a different state and holds a concealed carry permit from that state — as long as North Carolina has granted reciprocity to permit holders of that state. Those employees can carry their concealed weapons while operating all county vehicles except for emergency medical services vehicles.

The new policy also specifies where employees are prohibited from carrying concealed weapons, specifically the aforementioned areas where state or national laws prohibit them, as well as any private vehicle or private property owned or leased by someone who prohibits concealed weapons.

Concealed handgun storage policies are provided as well. Any employee toting a concealed weapon must carry it on their person, whether it’s in a holster or another carrying device.

The new policy also contains language about “threatening or violent behavior in the workplace,” stating that any such behavior will be addressed based on the county’s personnel policy and “may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from employment.”

“Just because you (carry a handgun), we’re not saying you’re threatening, you’re violent, any of those things,” County Manager Brian Alligood said. “But what we are saying is we will not tolerate threatening or intimidating behavior, and that includes intentionally displaying a concealed handgun, referring to it, referring to it even if it’s not on you — an implicit or explicit way to intimidate somebody.”

The commissioners also approved a general provision to the personnel policy requiring any county employee who chooses to carry a concealed handgun to notify their supervisor and provide them with a copy of their concealed handgun permit. The supervisor is required to pass that information on to the county manager.

The commissioners spent some time debating whether that measure was necessary.

“I can see situations where supervisors need to know, because I can see somebody getting hurt on the job,” Richardson said. “I can see a situation developed where, if the supervisor knew about it, it would go a whole lot different than what it would if he didn’t know about it.

“…As a supervisor, having been a supervisor, I would probably want to know (who’s carrying a handgun), because I can protect my employee and the rest of my employees better should the situations arise.”

The final approved proposal is a revision to the county’s existing personnel policy regarding weapons in the workplace.