Long story short, I wanted to ride a WSTA bus and tried to find a firearms policy. From their website it seemed as if they didn't have one for their standard busses. I was then shut down when the bus rolled up with a "Weapons Prohibited" sign http://tinyurl.com/44jspaj So, I decided to send an email to the WSTA Operations Manager. After I sent this email, I found out that only the newer "green" busses have the "Weapons Prohibited" sign. Regardless, I received a response from their lawyer.
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:01 PM
To: Dean Reynolds
Subject: WSTA Firearm Policy
To Operations Manager Dean Reynolds:
I am someone who enjoys using public transportation. Originally, I am from Chicago and used their transit system regularly, however, I have not used Winston-Salem's bus system until very recently. A benefit of living in North Carolina is the ability to obtain a Concealed Handgun Permit. I have gone through 8 hours of training in the classroom, and on a shooting range. [To OCers: Don't judge me for going the CHP route, Bureaucrats feel better when they think I've been "trained". I love and fully support unlicensed open carry, but I thought this would make a better argument]
In addition to being a CHP holder, I am a law abiding citizen. Which is why I checked the WSTransit website for rules and regulations before riding the bus system. The only mention of carrying a firearm I found on your website is under the "Trans-AID Rider's Guide 2009.pdf" where it says "You may not…carry any weapons…". Naturally, I assumed this did not apply to me because I do not qualify to ride a "Trans-AID" bus and there was no similar ban (listed) concerning standard WSTA busses.
It wasn't until I planned to ride the bus, while armed, that I saw the sign "Weapons Prohibited" on the exterior of the bus. I do not appreciate the lack of information on your website and I especially don't appreciate your disdain for the right to bear arms as stated in both the US and NC constitutions. I am writing to ask you to remove this sign from all of your busses and allow patrons to exercise their constitutional rights while riding WSTA.
I will not be riding any WSTA busses until this policy is changed, and I will encourage others to do the same. If this is not a policy and simply a city ordinance, kindly provide me with the ordinance reference as this may be in violation of North Carolina's state pre-emption as defined in GS 14-409.40 which only gives cities authority to regulate firearms in "public‑owned buildings, on the grounds or parking areas of those buildings, or in public parks or recreation areas".
From: Jerry Kontos <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM
Subject: RE: WSTA Firearm Policy
To: "cmlewis184" <cmlewis184>
Cc: Art Barnes <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Angela Carmon <email@example.com>, Allen Joines <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Stanley Polanis <email@example.com>, Greg Turner <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Lee Garrity <email@example.com>
I am in receipt of your July 28, 2011 e-mail, addressed to Dean Reynolds. Thank you very much for your inquiry. You are correct in that the State, pursuant to G.S. 14-409.40, has placed limitations on the local regulation of firearms. Indeed, the City may not prohibit the possession of concealed firearms on the buses themselves. However, as you point out, the City is authorized to prohibit the carrying of a concealed handgun on local government buildings and their appurtenant premises (see G.S. 14-415.23). Accordingly, you may neither board nor descend from a bus with a concealed handgun at the Clark Campbell Transportation Center, as you would be carrying a concealed handgun on public premises, in violation of the City’s prohibition. [Does this mean I can legally carry past a "Weapons Prohibited" sign on a bus as long as I don't get off at the Clark Campbell Transportation Center?]
It is also important to remember that, pursuant to G.S. 160A-189 and City Ordinance Section 38-10, the possession of any and all non-concealed firearms [So, OC is okay?] is strictly prohibited on all City property, including, but not limited to City buildings, parking lots and buses as well. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss this matter further.
Anargiros "Jerry" N. Kontos
Assistant City Attorney
P.O. Box 2511
Winston-Salem, N.C. 27102
Sounds like NC has to fix their preemption statute as this is exactly what preemption is supposed to prevent.North Carolina's state pre-emption as defined in GS 14-409.40 which only gives cities authority to regulate firearms in "public‑owned buildings, on the grounds or parking areas of those buildings, or in public parks or recreation areas".
Well I find it amazing that there are any shootings at all in Winston Salem because of the City Code. Pretty sure I read that discharging a firearm in the City Limits is illegal. Must be alot of self defense going on against innocent citizens and even cops... sarcasm: Anyway, I did a quick search and found the city code describing firearms. Link ---> http://library.municode.com/HTML/100...E_S38-10PODIFI
Not sure what it means for riding public transportation. I've never ridden a bus so please don't flame me for my question but do you pay admission to enter the bus?
Sec. 38-10. - Possession and discharge of firearms.
It shall be unlawful for any person to fire a gun, rifle, pistol or other firearm within the city, except in case of self-defense or necessity.
It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or carry, or to fire or discharge, any gun, rifle, pistol or other firearm on or in any building, park, recreation area or other property owned or operated by the city, whether within or outside the corporate limits, or on or in any public school building or grounds within the city. The city manager or his designee is authorized and directed to post, in conspicuous locations, notices of prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun in city buildings, their appurtenant premises and parks.
This section shall not apply to a police or other law enforcement officer lawfully discharging his duty, or to a watchman or other person specifically authorized to carry firearms on such premises while acting lawfully and within the scope of his authority, nor shall it prohibit the lawful possession or carrying of firearms on the public streets.
None of the provisions of this section shall be construed so as to prohibit law enforcement officers from discharging firearms within the corporate limits of the city on any firing range maintained for the training of law enforcement officers when such firing is conducted for training purposes under the supervision and direction of an officer in charge of the training program.
The provisions of this section shall not be construed so as to prohibit branches of the military service of the state and federal governments, including ROTC and reserve units, from firing guns, rifles, pistols or other firearms for training purposes in indoor ranges on the respective premises of such branches or units.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person discharging guns or muskets in city parks for ceremonial purposes, such persons having first obtained in writing the permission of the recreation director. In no event shall live ammunition be discharged.
For the purpose of eliminating deer within the boundaries of Smith Reynolds Airport, state and/or federal wildlife officers may discharge a shotgun at least 800 feet from any point on the airport's boundary line. Handguns or rifles shall not be used for the purpose of removing wildlife hazards within the airport's boundaries.
(Code 1975, § 12-14; Ord. No. 4564, § 1, 11-20-06)
State law reference— Authority of city to regulate use of firearms, G.S. 160A-189.
"God, Guns, & Guts Made America, Lets Use All 3!!!"