Insists “Gun Buster” signs be posted during hunter education classes

Last week hunter education instructors across the state began receiving letters from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) informing them they must begin posting facilities where courses are held against lawful carry.

This posting will make it illegal for anyone to possess firearms on the premises, whether or not they are participating in the course. This creates logistic problems for many ranges that freely offer facilities for hunter education classes, as facilities are used by non-participating members for other purposes.

The mere appearance of such signs has become offensive to those who value Second Amendment rights and recognize that we are responsible for self-defense at all times, everywhere we go. NCWRC should have been more sensitive to these issues, and sought input before demanding the display of distasteful signage.

Apparently what precipitated NCWRC's sudden desire for posting was a hunter safety participant surprised by being asked to disarm during a course. NCWRC claims that it is only trying to enforce a 10 year-old policy, and that NRA has a similar “no loaded firearms” policy during training classes.

While it may be reasonable to enforce a “no loaded firearm/no ammunition” policy when conducting training with firearms that are carried defensively, forcing those with defensive handguns to disarm while inoperable shotguns and rifles are demonstrated doesn't pass the commonsense test.

If the goal is safety, forcing people to disarm and handle otherwise safely holstered handguns in parking lots seems to be exactly what should not be promoted, not to mention it unnecessarily creates defenselessness.

GRNC has valued a positive relationship with NCWRC in the past and we have worked together to pass pro-hunting legislation through the Assembly. The hunter safety education program is critically important, and until now is something that every North Carolinian could be proud of.

We don't want this essential educational program to be compromised by ill-advised enforcement of rules for the sake of enforcing rules that actually decrease safety of participants. Our advice to NCWRC is to ask instructors to remind attendees that if they are carrying defensive weapons to not handle them for any reason other than an emergency during the course. No operable firearms or ammunition will be handled during the course. If a sign is felt necessary, this language could replace the offensive and legally-binding “gun buster” sign originally provided.

For the hundreds of instructors and participants of the course across the state who understand how important the educational mission is, we cannot in good conscience advise you to comply with allowing yourselves to be disarmed, or to post your facilities against lawful carry.

Hopefully NCWRC will consider the problems associated with their posting policy, and appropriately revise it. Let's encourage them to do so.


  • Email members of the NCWRC Director's Office

  • Tell them their “safety” policy is actually dangerous, and hunting and self-defense are two VERY different things

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Suggested Subject: "Defensive handguns are not a safety problem"

Dear Member of NCWRC Director's Office,

The hunter education program of our state is extremely valuable and of critical importance to the safety of all sportsmen and women.

From a safety standpoint, your recent demand that facilities conducting classes be posted against carry is puzzling. These signs offend hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who are licensed and trained to carry concealed handguns. What you are really asking people to do is disarm and rearm, handling otherwise safely holstered firearms. This, combined with making participants defenseless actually creates a less safe environment.

Most of the instructors of your courses hold concealed handgun permits, and many of the facilities are used for other purposes by gun owners who are committed to exercising their right to bear arms. These gun owners feel this right is violated too often and for no good reason in too many places already.

Posting of facilities with the signage you have provided makes carrying of firearms illegal for anyone, not just participants. This creates an unnecessary burden on the clubs and ranges that freely donate time and facilities for your important educational program.

It may make sense to implement a “no handgun/no ammunition” policy for courses where defensive handguns are handled and trained within a classroom setting. It is not reasonable to ban handguns carried for defense because inoperable hunting shotguns and rifles are demonstrated. Hunting education and self-defense education are very different things.

I respectfully suggest that you revise your demand that classrooms be posted against carry, and instead ask instructors to remind those who may be lawfully carrying defensive handguns to not handle them during the class. Only inoperable firearms and dummy ammunition are to be handled in the classroom.

I will be following progress of this issue through Grass Roots North Carolina alerts.


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