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Winston-Salem votes to loosen restrictions on carrying concealed handguns

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Winston-Salem City Council voted Monday night to approve a new city ordinance that will comply with the new state law allowing concealed handguns in city parks, playgrounds and green ways.

Council members made it known they did not like the law and didn't approve of state lawmakers telling them what to do in their city limits. Other local governments and organizations across the state have also expressed disapproval over the new law worried it will create unsafe areas.

"Bringing guns to our parks only increase the risk of tragedy," said Dan Besse, council member representing the southwest ward. "Studies show the more concentration of guns in an area the higher gun related crime and violence. Guns and children a particularly a bad mix."

An equal number of people attended the city council meeting in support of the new state law that also gained the support of the North Carolina Sheriff's Association. The association says the bill stops making citizens, who go through the proper channels to obtain a concealed weapon, a criminal because they step onto a park or green way.

"When danger is only seconds away and police officers are minutes away a concealed carry has been proven to deter crimes," said Jere Carter who supports the new state law. "The problems is that part of the debate has not be published."

The city council also passed a resolution questioning the new law when it comes to green ways. The city points out in a letter to lawmakers that much of their green ways are on easements from private property owners,  not city property, which could bring liability to private property owners.