Asheville attorney says gun shows are legal
Officials probably cannot stop gun shows at a state building located on city property, Asheville's city attorney says.
City attorney Bob Oast says state law limits local government's ability to regulate guns.
City Councilman Cecil Bothwell said earlier this month the city should ban gun shows on city-owned property, a reaction to the school shooting in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adults.
The WNC Agriculture Center that hosts gun shows is located on city property. The state of North Carolina operates the center and owns its buildings.
"The state tells us pretty directly what we can and can't do," Oast said Monday. "The state can make rules for its own property."
Bothwell had proposed the city use an existing ordinance that prevents possession of firearms on city property.
The center is scheduled to hold four more gun shows this year. The next is to start March 23.
Bothwell says he will continue to push to ban the shows.
Oast said it is possible the city could use the ordinance to prevent shows at U.S. Cellular Center.
"It is a city-owned facility on city-owned property," he said. That facility last hosted a gun show in 2009.
Atlanta promoter Mike Kent says he's not surprised by the opinion.
"I have felt that we were in the right. I was assured about that by some folks high up in state government all along," Kent said.