Law Shield notes a painful irony: Three fair-goers became victims of an armed robbery while walking to their car during this year’s state fair in North Carolina.
This came after NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler implemented a ban of handgun carry at the fair, which many CHLs in the state thought was illegal.
So F. Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina, wrote an open letter to Commissioner Troxler that we think is worth sharing with the Law Shield family:
Dear Commissioner Troxler:
So much has happened since last we spoke. Since then, as we both know, an activist judge sanctioned your willful misinterpretation of N.C.G.S. 14-415.23, allowing you to prohibit lawful concealed carry at the state fair.
When concealed carry at the fair was under debate, GRNC pointed out that ostensibly “gun free” zones actually attract sociopaths and criminals who know potential victims are disarmed. Indeed, of mass shootings in the United States since 1958, all but two have taken place in “victim disarmament zones.”
At a highly publicized press conference, you responded that you would have more than two hundred armed law enforcement officers inside the fair, to which we noted that your prohibition would still leave concealed handgun permit-holders defenseless in parking areas surrounding the fairground.
When your security chief, Joel Keith, was asked at yet another press conference whether disarmed fair-goers could receive armed escorts to their vehicles, he responded in the affirmative. Unfortunately, that promise was carried out only reluctantly, and only when people demanded it. Worse, the metal detectors you promised for fair entrances were used only sporadically, as numerous fairgoers have reported.
Sometimes, I hate to be right: Three of the people you purported to protect were robbed at gun point. That’s right, Commissioner Troxler; in case you haven’t heard, here is an early account from WTVD:
“Raleigh police are looking for two armed men who robbed three people at gunpoint late Saturday night near the North Carolina State University Club.
“Police say the victims were robbed around 11:35 p.m. as they were walking back to their vehicles on Hillsborough Street after leaving the North Carolina State Fair. Fortunately, no one was injured.
“The suspects drove off in a tan or cream-colored Lincoln. They’re described as two black males, one wearing a gray-hooded sweatshirt, one wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and each armed with handguns.” [Emphasis added]
Where were your law enforcement officers when these innocent people were victimized, Commissioner Troxler? What if the criminals hadn’t just robbed them, but murdered them as well? One of the suspects is in custody but, of course, that would be far too late to help the victims.
Consider that by holding press conferences and announcing to the world that fair-goers would be disarmed, you also declared open season on them by informing violent predators that their victims would be defenseless. Indeed, you and Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens should count yourselves fortunate that nobody was killed.
Even before our involvement, word of your failure to follow through on protecting the fair-goers you disarmed is spreading throughout the gun rights community nationwide.
Perhaps you should convene another press conference … this time, to issue an apology.
F. Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
P.S. I note from USA Today that the fair’s attendance was down nearly 20% from its peak in 2010. Could it be that gun owners decided to stay home?
What do you think of Valone’s letter? Let us hear from you in the comments section.