Reynolds descendant to drop Tanglewood gun lawsuit

Tanglewood Park (WGHP)

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Noah Reynolds is dropping his challenge to Forsyth County’s policy on guns in Tanglewood Park, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Reynolds announced Saturday in an email that he would drop the lawsuit filed last October, challenging the county’s policy allowing people with concealed carry permits to have guns in Tanglewood Park.

“My feelings haven’t changed,” Reynolds said when reached by phone Saturday. “But if the court won’t hear my case, then the court won’t hear my case.”

Reynolds said the case had been ordered to mediation, where parties in a lawsuit work with a neutral third party to settle. Reynolds said he didn’t see the possibility for a settlement and instead decided to drop the case.

“I know when the deck is stacked against me,” he said in an email.

Reynolds, a descendant of the family that originally provided land for Tanglewood Park, filed the suit last October with co-plaintiff Domingo A. Isasi, a former Winston-Salem police officer and a special agent with the State Bureau of Investigation. Reynolds said Isasi has since moved to Maine for a job opportunity, one reason Reynolds was dropping the suit.

The lawsuit argues that the county’s ordinance is in conflict with state law and that the county is treating lawful gun owners unfairly by allowing concealed carry but prohibiting people from openly carrying guns.

Concealed carry already was allowed at the county’s other parks, although open carry is not. In the past, concealed carry was not allowed at Tanglewood because it is the only county park with an alcohol permit. But under a new state law that went into effect last year, concealed carry in places that serve alcohol is no longer prohibited unless the facility’s owner expressly forbids it.

Commissioners passed the ordinance 4-3 last year to allow people with concealed carry permits to have guns in Tanglewood.

Gloria Whisenhunt, vice chair of the Forsyth County board of commissioners, voted for the ordinance. When reached by phone Saturday evening, she said she was not surprised to hear Reynolds was dropping the suit.

“I never thought it was a legitimate law suit to begin with,” she said.

Whisenhunt said the likelihood that the issue will be revisited next year when the makeup of the board is different is “very slim.”

Commissioner Mark Baker, who voted for the ordinance, was defeated in the May primary by Don Martin. Martin will be unopposed in the general election. Bill Whiteheart, who also voted for the ordinance, faces a challenge for his seat in November.

Reynolds said he will not approach the new board about revisiting the issue, but hopes they will do so.

“I think the commissioners and the public are well aware of my position,” Reynolds said. “If they wish to pursue it further, I think it’s time for them to pick up the ball and carry it forward.”

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