Pinehurst Repeals Concealed Weapon Ban
Admitting it overreached the first time around, the Pinehurst Village Council voted Tuesday to repeal an ordinance that prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons in public parks and on the greenway trails.
“The council is not afraid to say it made a mistake,” Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said.
The unanimous vote came less than a month after the council voted for the orignal prohibition. The switch came after input from residents.
“Our inboxes have been flooded,” Fiorillo said.
Several residents spoke on the issue Tuesday morning. All favored abolishing the ordinance.
Resident Bill Huber cautioned the council that the issue could earn plenty of press and ultimately become political.
“If this gets enough press it is going to be an election issue,” Huber said.
He encouraged the council to “be careful and don’t shoot yourself in the foot.”
Prior to the discussion with the public, each council member said they erred when voting for the ordinance on July 24.
“It is one of the few votes I wish I had back because it punishes citizens,” council member Mark Parson said.
“I wish I had thought about it and done a little better homework,” fellow council member Doug Lapins said. “I don’t see where this (ordinance) does a thing for us as a village.”
Police Chief Earl Phipps said there had been no incidences in the village, and also said that enforcing a ban on concealed weapons on the greenway trails would be very difficult.
“Our parks are very safe," Phipps said.
Parks and Recreation Director Mark Wagner said he contacted Southern Pines, Aberdeen and Moore County, and only Aberdeen was even looking at the issue, and it was in the early stages.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Huber said.
Rich Foster said there are areas on the greenway trails that are isolated and where someone might be accosted by “thugs,” and would be much safer if they were allowed to carry a concealed weapon.
Resident Jerry Montgomery voiced concerns to the council about the process and the lack of public information and involvement.
“How did it get to be brought before the council, and how did it get to be such a slam dunk?” he asked.
He proposed that residents — on both sides of the issue — should have been given an opportunity to speak on the matter before a decision was made.
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey @thepilot.com.
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