The Opinion Shop

Fair fear: Readers sound off on the idea of guns at the NC State Fair

Coming Sunday: Editorial cartoonist Dwane Powell imagines guns at the N.C. State Fair
Coming Sunday: Editorial cartoonist Dwane Powell imagines guns at the N.C. State Fair

The letters have been rolling in since news broke that Grass Roots North Carolina interpreted North Carolina’s new, laxer gun regulations to mean that people could take their guns into the NC State Fair this year. Both Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and Gov. Pat McCrory have weighed in and said guns will not be welcome. Read the latest story here.

A sampling of letters to the editor:

Regarding the Oct. 1 news article “ New law may allow guns at fair”: The only guns we need at the State Fair are those worn by our troopers and Raleigh police officers. It is a family venue whose greatest threats are indigestion and motion sickness. Those so paranoid they feel a need to pack heat need to stay home so the rest of us can enjoy the fun.

If state agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is forced to cave on this issue and allow arms on the fairgrounds, our family will not go. I have enjoyed the State Fair since 1955 but will forgo my annual visit if guns are allowed. How that benefits our state and its agricultural traditions is lost on me.

Linda Cornetti



Regarding the Oct. 1 news article “ New law may allow guns at fair”: The North Carolina State Fair has been a tradition in our family for years. My husband and I went on our first date there in 1996. Since then, we have made it a point to attend every year. We love the sights and sounds but go mostly for the food. Our daughter loves the rides. We have taken friends and family from out of state, to show off the best of North Carolina culture.

Sadly, this tradition will come to an end if the decision is made to allow guns or any concealed weapons at the fair. The State Fair is a family-oriented event; there is no need for anyone to bring any kind of weapon. There is plenty of security provided during the fair. The only guns I want to see at the fairgrounds are those on the police officers, doing their sworn duty to keep the public safe.

If legal action is taken by Grass Roots North Carolina to allow guns at the fair, I hope the court sides with agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and enforces the no-guns policy. If it does not, this is one fewer family that will be attending the fair this year.

Janice Horner



It seems that some of our elected officials, sworn to uphold and defend our Constitution and enforce the laws of North Carolina, feel they can pick and choose which laws to enforce and which to ignore. Examples: Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler posting the State Fair in violation of HB 937 (“ New law may allow guns at fair,” Oct. 1 news story), and Attorney General Roy Cooper refusing to fight for the marriage constitutional amendment (“ Cooper’s call,” July 30 editorial). Where does it end?

John Kuhl

Pilot Mountain


I have an easy solution for the members of Grass Roots North Carolina who are clamoring for the right to take concealed guns to the North Carolina State Fair. If crime is so rampant at the fair that they fear for their lives without their guns, they should simply stay home and allow the rest of us and our children to enjoy the fair without worrying about guns being discharged, either accidentally or on purpose.

I hope that agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and Gov. Pat McCrory refuse to yield to their ridiculous and unsafe demands!

Susan Putnam



Guns at the State Fair? If that happens, count me out. Not only will I not attend the fair, but I will not be making my usual entries in the flower show. The last place we need guns is at the fair with packed crowds and long lines. It’s a disaster in the making.

Jeannie Inskeep



Here goes agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler with another case of NIMBY (not in my backyard). He was an early supporter of tea party Republicanism and small government, but when it was suggested that the Agriculture Department budget be cut, he squealed NIMBY! Now he’s against carrying guns at the State Fair but thinks that’s OK in most other places (“ New law may allow guns at fair,” Oct. 1 news story).

Speaking of Republican NIMBY, what about all the legislators who voted for guns everywhere, except for the Legislative Building? This is the height of NIMBY hypocrisy!

We don’t need guns at the State Fair. We don’t need guns at the Legislative Building. But we also don’t need guns at schools, in parks, in grocery stores, in bars, restaurants or any other public venues. The general public deserves to be safe just as much as our elected officials.

R.A. Johnson



Regarding the Oct. 1 news article “ New law may allow guns at fair”: If guns are allowed at the State Fair, I will not be attending! I hope others will stay home with their children!

Claire Linker



My husband and I eagerly anticipate each column written by Barry Saunders. THe Oct. 2 column “ Hey, where did the State Fair crowds go” was one of his best! Who in their right mind would or could eagerly anticipate taking their family to the beloved North Carolina State Fair?

The tragedy of the malfunctioning ride last year was horrible enough for all those involved; those injured will never be the same. Imagine now that a child or adult might be killed while waiting in line to ride the Ferris wheel or bumper cars. What would those headlines be like? Surely something can be done to avoid a death simply because our residents decide to buy a ticket to the fair. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.

Marty Moore

Chapel Hill


Regarding the Oct. 1 news article “ New law may allow guns at fair”: If the legislature allows guns at the State Fair, I will never again attend. Consider the accidental shootings that have recently been in the news, and consider what terrible tragedy could potentially happen if one of these “responsible” gun owners had his gun go off on a crowded midway.

It wasn’t that long ago that a gun went off at a gun show at the fairgrounds, so the Grass Roots North Carolina folks can’t say that it won’t happen. And exactly what are people so afraid of that they need to carry a gun to the fair? Someone butting in line and getting the last fried Twinkie?

Ted Raper



Common sense would dictate that mixing weapons and children is never a good idea. If anyone needs concrete proof, read up on the case of the little girl who accidentally killed a trained gun range instructor (re “responsible adult”) when she lost control of an Uzi. Or just look at the sobering statistics of the number of children who are injured or die from mishandled firearms every year.

Apparently, North Carolina legislators who authorized last year’s House Bill 937 and groups like Grass Roots North Carolina lack this type of common sense. The bill allows concealed carry in places where tickets are sold (theaters, concerts, fairs) and permits transportation of handguns in motor vehicles on school property and storage in vehicles on school property, provided the vehicles are locked.

Legislators claim they did not anticipate these provisions would also allow concealed carry at the North Carolina State Fair. When such broad permissions are granted, what did they honestly expect? And, for those who want to take guns to the fair, what are they afraid of? The worst that usually happens to fairgoers is overspending or heartburn. Their gun cannot protect them from either of those.

Sapana Vora



Concealed guns may be allowed at the NC State Fair if some lethal weapon enthusiasts get their way. Guns at the fair have never been needed and are not needed now. There is always a large law enforcement presence at the fair.

Gun accidents happen. The rides, bustling crowds and presence of many children make this a dangerous idea. Furthermore, the North Carolina Constitution stipulates against concealed carry:

Article I, Declaration of Rights, Section 30, Militia and the right to bear arms.

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.”

The leaders who wrote our state constitution were against hidden weapons. A few gun owners want concealed weapons everywhere: restaurants, churches, schools and now the State Fair. Let us not ignore the NC Constitution.

Robert K. Anderson