NCDA&CS adds more safeguards for gun shows at State Fairgrounds, Western N.C. Ag Center

RALEIGH — People who bring firearms to sell at future gun shows at two N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services facilities will have to park in designated areas and use a separate entrance to the events.

Authorities proposed these and other safety measures after three people were injured in a shooting accident at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show at the State Fairgrounds in January. The new precautions will be used at gun shows at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh and the Western N.C. Agricultural Center in Fletcher.

The shows are organized by private promoters who rent buildings for the events. The promoters rent booth space to licensed gun dealers. In addition to selling guns, some of these dealers also buy firearms from show visitors.

The department consulted with law enforcement and show promoters in developing the following safeguards:

  • Visitors bringing a firearm to sell or trade at a gun show on these properties will be required to park in a separate location. At the State Fairgrounds, the parking area will be inside Gate 4, off Youth Center Drive. At the Western N.C. Ag Center, the parking area will be inside Gate 5, off Airport Road.
  • People bringing their guns to sell or trade will be required to use a separate entrance to the show building. Previously, there were separate lines for visitors with guns and those without guns, but the lines were adjacent to each other.
  • Firearms must not be in a case. The weapon’s action must be open and all magazines, bullets or shells removed when show visitors exit their vehicles. As with past shows, security officers will continue to examine firearms at the show entrance and secure them with straps.

The department also intends to place a special emphasis on ensuring that no gun sales occur in parking lots at the two facilities, said Joel Keith, the department’s chief of police.

“These new steps will enhance the protective measures already in place for gun shows that are held at the State Fairgrounds and Western N.C. Ag Center,” Keith said.

The new safeguards, which show promoters have endorsed, will be in effect beginning with the Capital City Gun Show at the State Fairgrounds Feb. 23 and 24. The next gun show at the Western N.C. Ag Center is scheduled for March 23 and 24.