GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Pitt County Commissioners voted 6-3 to repeal an ordinance that banned concealed weapon permit holders from carrying a gun on county property. This vote comes just weeks after the board voted against it.
Under the new ordinance, conceal permit holders would be able to bring the gun on county property, excluding the detention center, courthouse and schools.
Commissioner Jimmy Garris was one of the commissioners who changed his vote.
“I feel it is appropriate for me personally to change my position on this issue,” Garris said.
His vote change came after county employees were surveyed about the issue. 58 percent of those employees who filled out the survey said they approved of the move. While 76 percent said they don’t have concealed permits currently, 84 percent said they would get one if they could carry a gun at work.
Commissioners against the move said they don’t feel as if adding guns to the workplace would make it safer.
“What message are we sending to the children as it relates to guns,” said Mark Perkins-Williams.
Commissioner Melvin McLawhorn questioned the survey and wanted to see a demographic break down of those who responded. He also said he wanted there to be a public forum before a vote was cast.
However, Commissioner Glen Webb, who proposed the idea first, said concealed permit holders aren’t the type of individuals you have to worry about. He said by allowing concealed weapons, people would be able to better protect themselves, and possibly prevent a mass shooting.
“They are told that they are not sheriff deputies, vigilantes or super heroes,” Webb said. “They are there for their own personal protection.”
The passed motion also would require employees to notify their supervisors if they intended to carry a weapon, which would then be reported to the county manager. Signage in county buildings would also need to be updated to notify everyone of the changes.
A final vote on the issue will come during the commissioner’s next scheduled meeting on December 7. If passed, the change would become effective immediately.