The Guilford County Board of Commissioners knew that there would be a lot of response from the public when they decided to propose a few changes in the county’s gun laws – and they were certainly right about that.  

This week, Guilford County Commissioner Mary Beth Murphy and Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston are holding a private meeting with community members on both sides of the debate in order to clear up some misunderstandings and address apprehensions that have been aired in response to proposed changes.

On Wednesday, Aug. 4, the two, along with county staff, will meet with a select group of gun rights advocates as well as those who favor more restrictions on guns.  That will take place one day before an official public hearing on the matter is held on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Alston said that Murphy, who’s the commissioner representing of the largely rural District 4, had received much of the public’s feedback after news got out that the Board of Commissioners was considering changes in the gun ordinances.

“I admire her leadership on this,” Alston said this week of Murphy, adding that he and Murphy both thought it was a good idea to address the issue head on in a small group setting before the public hearing takes place.

Alston said proposed tweaks in the county’s gun ordinances now under discussion would do nothing to limit gun rights, but instead would make gun use in the county safer by, for instance, requiring target practice sites to have berms behind them or take other protective measures to assure that no one is hit by a stray bullet.

Alston said he agreed with Murphy that it was a good idea to hold a preliminary non-public meeting with interested parties before the full-blown public hearing on the issue at the Guilford County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Aug. 5, where many speakers from the public are expected to weigh in on the issue.

Alston said that some in the community – like former District 4 County Commissioner Alan Branson – had been trying to work local residents up over changes in the gun ordinance. 

However, he added that, once people understand the proposed changes, they’ll realize that these are just tweaks in the law to assure safety. 

No one, the chairman said, is trying to limit the rights of gun users in Guilford County.

“I’m a gun owner myself,” Alston said.  “I don’t want anyone infringing on my gun rights.”