Judge Donald Stephens’ decision in the GRNC lawsuit against posting the state fair against concealed carry can best be summarized in his own words: “If I can find a way to interpret the statutes to prohibit concealed handguns in the state fair, I will.”
It was evident to all that Judge Stephens had his mind made up long before the hearing began. When GRNC’s attorney argued, his attitude was nearly contemptuous, and when the Attorney General’s representative argued, Stephens was soothing and supportive as if talking to a pet dog.
The denial today of GRNC’s temporary restraining order was a classic case of legislating from the bench by, perhaps willfully, misinterpreting both the intent of the General Assembly in passing HB 937’s opening of assemblies to concealed carry, and the potential cost to crime victims of not being able to protect themselves against violent predators, as has happened repeatedly in other state fairs, the most recent being last weekend in Arizona.
GRNC is examining our options, including appeal, legislative action, and possibly an open holster demonstration at the fair. Allow me to say what I told conservative talk show host and GRNC supporter Bill LuMaye: “We don’t know yet how we will react to this setback, but I can tell you one thing: Whatever we do will be done to expand the rights of lawful North Carolinians and their ability to protect their families. The left has called it ‘the long march.’ This is our long march.”
GRNC’s operating philosophy: Never give up. Never give in. Never go away.I, of course, am not a smart lawyer, but I also thought the language of the law was pretty clear. David Codrea's blog War on Guns notes that ever day in a Progressive Paradise is Opposite Day. This ruling strikes me as being a typical Opposite Day ruling. The judge was determined to find against us no matter what the law said.