Harnett Gun Owners Have Fire in Bellies
Harnett Gun Owners Have Fire in Bellies
Vice Chairman Gary A. House
Harnett County Board of Commissioners
On Monday night approximately 250 to 300 Harnett gun owners rallied at the Harnett County Board of Commissioners meeting to speak against a new PROPOSED ordinance at a public hearing that could limit their ability to fire their guns on their property.
Many of the residents who spoke read and understood the PROPOSED ordinance. It was obvious that others had not read or understood the PROPOSED ordinance. One gentleman approached me before the public hearing with a copy of the ordinance in his hand and started asking questions. It quickly became obvious to me that he had not read the ordinance. Finally I asked him if he had read it. He admitted that he had not even though it was in his hand. He was going by what others had led him to believe.
Many who spoke at the meeting accused the Commissioners of having our minds made up before the public hearing was started. I cannot speak for the other Commissioners but I know my mind was not made up prior to our meeting. I had issues with the ordinance myself. I even posted the ordinance on my FaceBook page once I had it in a PDF format and asked for people’s opinions. Yes, I received several opinions because I reached out to the community.
I came into the public hearing with an open mind. I have always listened to my constituents. I made a promise to my constituents that I would always listen to them and take their views into consideration over eight years ago. I have always lived up to that promise. Yes, I did take it a little personal at the hearing when person after person, some who were friends of mine, kept saying that all of the Commissioners had already had their minds made up and we were going to vote on it later that night.
A public hearing is just that–a public hearing. Sometimes there are votes to approve or deny a PROPOSED ordinance on the night it is presented. Sometimes the ordinance is tabled and sent back to the Planning Department for modification. There are some good things is this ordinance, which I have read numerous times. There are also some over reaching items in the ordinance.
I did learn a lot by listening to the many residents who spoke at the meeting. I would be negligent in my duties and promises if my mind were made up before I listened to the people of Harnett County. There are many things in this ordinance that need to be eliminated or altered. It may be that the entire ordinance needs to be dropped. However, there is one item in the ordinance that needs to be addressed in some fashion. Projectiles should not leave a person’s property endangering the lives of others.
I am certain that almost 100% of the people who attended the public hearing have exemplary safety practices where bullets end up in a natural berm or a manmade berm. However, that is not the case for all gun owners shooting on their property. An example of that was giving to me by our zoning inspector. One gunman was shooting at a target attached to a pine tree with no berm behind it. As a matter of fact, a pond was behind the tree on someone else’s land. If the gunman missed the target, the stray bullet could have hit a child fishing in the pond. The Sheriff does need to have an ordinance that has some teeth in it that would address this issue. We cannot allow unsafe gun practices especially when our lands are being replaced with a rapid influx of people and new subdivisions.
Many people claimed at the hearing that their Second Amendment rights were being assaulted. That certainly was not the intent. Personally, I have had no phone calls about noise or exploding targets even though other Commissioners claim they have and the Sheriff claims he has also.
My chief concern is the ones who do not exhibit good gun safety practices and the health and safety of the ones potentially affected.
Changing directions a little bit, it was wonderful seeing concerned citizens pack the county board room last night with fire in their bellies. Sometimes, I wonder if apathy has paralyzed the citizens of the county. Apathy was certainly not evident last night. We have a lot of important issues in the County that need addressing. Explosive growth in our traditional rural lands has caused concerns over gun safety practices.
That same explosive growth has created tremendous demands on our school system. That growth has generated complaints from parents with children in the system. But honestly, I have not seen the fire in the bellies of the parents at our board meetings that saw in the Harnett County gun owners last night.
We have a school bond referendum on the ballot in November to assist us in financing the schools we desperately need. I would like to see the community use the fire in the bellies of Harnett County gun owners and stand up and demand that we pass these bonds and look after the education of our children.
Parents, you need to start that fire in your bellies for our kids just like the Harnett gun owners exhibited last night for their right to use their guns. Property owners have the right to fire their weapons on their property in a safe manner just as our kids have the right to a good, quality education in a comfortable setting.
I challenge all of you to rid yourselves of political apathy, take a stand on important issues with a burning fire in your bellies. If not, we all suffer.