A little over a year ago a number of local gun owners objected to the Johnston County commissioners' blatant anti-gun attitude by calling, emailing and showing up at events where a number of them were attempting to regulate how and when a person may shoot on his own land. The county commissioners put together a "working group" to draft an anti-gun ordinance.
The working group, hand picked by the county commissioners and chaired by Johnston County Commission then-Chairman Allen Mims, put together a document that gave the commissioners just what they wanted. Based on the Progressive concept of "The Big Lie" they called it the "Good Neighbor" ordinance. Apparently they think that having someone arrested and jailed is what a good neighbor does.
The working group started out with an ordinance that was heinous in the extreme. It banned discharging a firearm within 600 feet of any occupied building and discharge of a firearm within 600 feet of ANY building for ANY reason without the written permission of the owner.
The ordinance, far from being a "good neighbor" policy, was actually a targeted ex-post-facto instrument aimed squarely at Reverend John Edgar “Eddie” Jordan for failing to kowtow to the county. After attempting to zone his shooting range out of existence and failing, the county commissioners decided to use their power to make him do what they want.
The machinations of the county government even got the attention of a state-wide gun rights group, Grass Roots North Carolina. GRNC has since redesigned their website and the links to the GRNC newsletters addressing the issue are no longer working but the article details much of the content.
Due to legal fees to defend himself from the county and due to some spurious assault charges filed by the chief complainer, Christopher Scott Andrews, Ed Jordan is out of business. Jordan was later acquitted of the assault charges.
Andrews himself showed up at several of the working group meetings but failed to ever provide any evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Reverend Jordan despite the fact that Andrews claimed that bullets had penetrated his house. No evidence was produced or even noted by the law enforcement personnel that had investigated the case. No bullets, no bullet fragments, no pictures of holes in his house. Nothing.
Note that none of this was ever brought up at any of the meetings. Rather, the stated reason for the ordinance - that the Johnston County Sheriff's Office received 527 calls about stray gunfire in 2010, up from 476 calls in 2009 - itself is suspect. When asked how many of these calls were from the same person or phone number the representative of the Johnston County Sheriff to the working group could not or would not provide that information. Using their numbers, the number of calls increased by 10.714% from 2009 to 2010 while the population of Johnston County increased by 8.453% from 156888 in 2009 to 170151 in 2010. The increase of calls was statistically insignificant when viewed against the population increase of the county yet the commissioners somehow felt the need to "do something," however inane or useless.
But we're told by Da Mayor Rahm Emanuel hisself that you never let a serious crisis go to waste. So despite that the calls demanding action were probably all from a few people, and that the number of calls increased right along with the population and that the primary object of their attack was run out of business the county commissioners still saw an open door to act.
Several local gun rights people complained to the commissioners about the high-handed universal ban that left no exceptions for hunting, indoor ranges or ranges with proper berms. Some of these problems were addressed in the final bill, albeit badly.
The working group promptly started adding other outrageous provisions. The worst of them requires anyone on any number of legal, over-the-counter or prescription drugs to effectively give up their guns because shooting them is now illegal. The ordinance gives unprecedented power to the sheriff to cite or arrest a person simply because the deputy believed the person might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, no proof or warrant needed. The prohibitionism is so extreme that a person using Sudafed is prohibited from shooting since the active ingredient in Sudafed is pseudoephedrine, a controlled substance per North Carolina law.
Other items were also added, exempting agents of the government and those that provide services to the same. So as long as your "shooting range" lets Deputy Fife shoot there you're exempt. Want to do a little low-light shooting on your own? Nyet!
The entire sad story can be seen here.
We told them that most of this was unenforceable at best and likely actionable under a second amendment lawsuit. We told them that current North Carolina law *already* provided for this by making it illegal to shoot into an occupied dwelling in § 14-34.1 to wit:
(a) Any person who willfully or wantonly discharges or attempts to discharge any firearm or barreled weapon capable of discharging shot, bullets, pellets, or other missiles at a muzzle velocity of at least 600 feet per second into any building, structure, vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other conveyance, device, equipment, erection, or enclosure while it is occupied is guilty of a Class E felony.
(b) A person who willfully or wantonly discharges a weapon described in subsection (a) of this section into an occupied dwelling or into any occupied vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other conveyance that is in operation is guilty of a Class D felony.
(c) If a person violates this section and the violation results in serious bodily injury to any person, the person is guilty of a Class C felony.
None of that mattered. They wanted what they wanted and laws and the public be damned. Those of us that objected were abused and insulted by several of the county commissioners. We were told that our statements were misleading, but were not told how. We were accused of being outside agitators, despite a show of hands at the final meeting that indicated that almost all of us objecting to the ordinance were Johnston County residents. That didn't matter either.
Any attempt at compromise was shot down. We suggested that a public shooting range like Wake County has would remove some of the need for people to shoot on their own property. They said that was something for another time. To date, zero action has been taken to even discuss a county operated range.
Since then any attempt at opening a private shooting range in Johnston County has been shot down too.
So they got what they wanted. We told them that gun control is what you do instead of something effective.
And SURPRISE!!! it doesn't work.
Now those of us that told them that this would do *nothing* to solve the problem have been vindicated. The local fishwrap has just published a new article about another group of people all butthurt that someone is shooting on his own property. Allegedly the shooters are doing the shooting after the government approved hours. The shooter, when questioned by the sheriff's deputies, just refuses to comment. He sounds like a smart fella, and is probably being well advised by his wife who is a lawyer.
This situation is starting to smell like the same old crap. A few loud complaints, a claim of a projectile being found (but no evidence), no charges filed and Allen Mims right in the spotlight of the article.
The sheriff's department, after having seemingly failed to arrest anyone in the Jordan/Andrews case over the actual shooting problem, has now stated that they are powerless in this case as well. Apparently they need actual evidence to arrest someone and because of the transitory and show-over-substance foundation of the "Good Neighbor" ordinance it's not likely they're going to find any if any even exists. The target of this anti-gun assault is smart enough to keep his mouth shut and without someone to confess to the crimes outlined in the "Good Neighbor" ordinance any arrest made would never get past a jury. Apparently they aren't entirely stupid down at the Sheriff's office as they don't want to be on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
That just leaves the nest of stupid in the county commissioner's office. The money quote from the article is from Lord High Executioner Mims himself, stating that he "hopes" to be able to resolve the issue within the existing ordinance. He doesn't say what he'll do if the issue isn't resolved in the existing ordinance. Gosh, I wonder what a statist, busy-body, nanny-state thug will want to do if that situation arises?
Something even more stupid I bet.