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Last updated: May 15. 2014 9:38AM - 1017 Views

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Where and how a gun should be carried in public has become one of the most contentious debates our great country has discussed over the last 30 years.


Inevitably, when the issue comes up, there are strong reactions from both sides.


When local governments, following the state statutes, attempt to balance the views of those who support the open and/or concealed carrying of weapons with those who believe in strict gun regulations, invariably, neither side is pleased with the outcome.


And so it is with the Ashe County Board of Commissioners’ recent decision to ban the open carrying of guns in its parks.


Those gun owners who have met the legal qualifications to carry a concealed weapon can still do so in a county park, as is their state-sanctioned right.


While gun owners might not believe the government has a right to tell them when and where they can openly carry a weapon, there are people who will disagree. Common sense tells us if someone shows up at a park packing a pistol on their hip where children whose families have differing views are participating in an event, it’s not inconceivable those families would be less likely to continue using facilities that are paid for by all.


Like it or not, the reaction from some folks to a very public display of a private citizen’s gun is one of fear, justified or not. And we’d venture to guess even those whose ideas on gun ownership is considered liberal might question the motivations of a gun owner’s decision to publicly display a weapon.


Given the balancing act required and working within the General Assembly’s decision to relax handgun restrictions statewide, the county made the right decision.


Does one job matter?


Yes it does, especially when it’s your family counting on you.


We know there had been some reservations from the West Jefferson Board of Aldermen about allowing a small beauty shop to open in a West Jefferson residential neighborhood.


In fact, during the board meeting in April, the decision on whether or not to adopt a variance to the town’s zoning regulations that would have allowed that business to open had been tabled.


At the time, it seemed like a curious decision. Zoning variances are usually ho-hum matters, especially when a business is attempting to open. There are occasions where certain types of businesses will bump into residential neighborhoods – usually service-oriented businesses like an accountant, an attorney, or a beauty shop.


Usually, the matters are settled with little or no discussion with a few conditions placed on the variance.


In May, there was, fortunately, no discussion and the aldermen approved the zoning variance with some common sense conditions. They made the right call.


These are tough times in Ashe County. Every job matters. The aldermen deserve a shout out for giving that family a chance.


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