I’m a gun owner. In 26 years of military service, I was rated as “expert” each time I qualified at the firing range. Even on military installations where being around weapons is a routine occurrence, common sense prevails and there are restrictions limiting the carry of firearms. These restrictions are in place to protect military members and their families from injury or death due to gunshots.
Here in Ashe County though, when given an opportunity to put in place a common sense gun ordinance to protect families in our county parks, Commissioners Roark, Poe and Price, the Three Amigos, recently chose guns over our kids.
The ordinance would’ve regulated the carry of concealed and unconcealed weapons in parks during events. Commissioners Rhodes and Sands voted for the measure with Sands expressing concerns over the presence of concealed weapons during athletic events when the emotions of parents could run high. He’s right; there are numerous stories in the news about parents losing their cool and doing “crazy things” as Sands called it. With his Ashe County Sheriff’s Department affiliation, Sands has credibility on this issue, but none of the Three Amigos has demonstrated, in recent memory, that they posses much common sense.
Taking all his cues from his “posse” at the local Hardee’s, Chairman Gary Roark has yet to show he’s capable of original thought when it comes to serving the interests of Ashe County’s citizens. Vice Chair Judy Poe, who said she had not supported carrying concealed weapons at ball games in the past, but then “re-thought” her position due to political pressure, proved she can’t stand on her principles (which have been in short supply in recent years anyway). And then there’s anti-government “sovereign citizen” Gerald Price invoking the Constitution. Price said he wouldn’t vote for anything that would limit the Second Amendment rights of citizens. Price, who regularly, and wrongly, references the Constitution once again proves his ignorance and utter incompetence.
In the 2008 Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Scalia, arguably the most conservative Justice on the court, wrote the opinion that definitively said the Constitution protects an individual’s right to own a gun for personal use and self defense. But the court also made it clear the right to own a gun continues to have a number of significant qualifications or restrictions such as the right of government to forbid the carry of weapons in sensitive places like county parks.
As the county commission begins its tenure under the leadership of Chairman Roark, it continues to be clear these three commissioners are honor graduates of the Three Stooges’ school of governing. Ashe County deserves better.