Subject: concealed weapons
From: "Robyn.*****@roanokeva.gov" <Robyn.******@roanokeva.gov>
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:00:13 PM
Thanks for your inquiry. I hope that I can help clarify any confusion about the firearms policy at the RCC. If you will notice in the content of our website and in the text of posters or signage in the facility, the word "illegal" precedes "weapons." Several years ago, when the word "illegal" was absent from the text, a gentleman with the Civic Liberties Union contacted me about the code because he has a concealed weapons permit and he interpreted our statements to mean that we would not allow him to enter our facility with a firearm. At that point, and at the direction of the City Attorney, we changed all verbiage pertaining to firearms to reflect the word "illegal" so as not to confuse anyone. Basically, if you present a valid concealed weapons permit and you are carrying a firearm, we cannot deny you entry into the facility. However, I would like to point out that we prefer no one to bring in firearms for many, many reasons, and our staff will most likely ask politely if you would consider returning it to your vehicle. We make this same request to off-duty officers and surprisingly many comply.
Our position for asking is simple: Most events held here are not of the nature to inspire or instigate fights. Firearms are extreme weapons to use should a fight escalate between patrons. We would rather have someone fight the old fashioned way if necessary than with a gun because rarely does anyone die from a fist-fight and the chance of an innocent bystander also getting hurt is almost nonexistent. Our facility has a capacity of approximately 10,600 and if we have a full-house, then anyone carrying a firearm has 10,600 opportunities to do irreparable damage. As most everyone will agree, not all who carry weapons, legally or otherwise, are mentally stable and one way to prevent catastrophe is to remove opportunity. Just a few short years ago, someone with a permit and gun was allowed into a basketball game at the Greensboro Coliseum. He moved around in his seat and his gun went off, shooting himself in the leg. That could easily have been a child or innocent person who came out for a night of fun.
That said, if you come to the RCC and show your concealed weapons permit, you will not be denied entry. However, we ask you to consider the possibilities of all that could go wrong and keep in mind the reason why everyone you see entering the doors is coming here -- to enjoy sports, entertainment, a show, meeting, or expo. They aren't coming to defend themselves against someone with a gun. I imagine that in the near future, there will be changes to the law to prevent anyone from bringing a concealed weapon (legal or not) into a public assembly facility where there are risks for greater damages (much like a football stadium or gathering of multitudes of people) to innocent people.
I hope this clears up any questions you may have about our policies and procedures with regard to firearms on this property. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Robyn ******| Assistant General Manager | Roanoke Civic Center | Global Spectrum p: 540.853.6861 | f: 540.853.2748 RoanokeCivicCenter.com