RALEIGH, N.C. (CNN) — The North Carolina State Fair is only a few days away and plenty of families are expected to attend.
Some of the guests who currently are not allowed to attend are registered sex offenders in the state. But one group is trying to change that.
Robin Vander Wall is president of the North Carolinians for Rational Sexual Offense Laws. His group argues laws that ban registered sex offenders from living near school zones are just as unconstitutional as the state’s State Fair ban.
Vander Wall says sex offenders have paid their debt to society and are being denied basic rights.
“We’re asking the sheriff to stand on principle and protect the rights and privileges of the citizens of the state and in particular the citizens of Wake County who happen to be sex offenders,” he said.
The ban was approved by the state in 2015. Authorities arrested four registered sex offenders at the fair, including someone initially charged with flying a drone over the fairgrounds and a convicted child molester charged with posing as a state inspector to get into the kiddy ride section.
When asked about parent’s worry of having sex offenders near their children at the State Fair, Vander Wall said he understood but disagreed.
“The perception of those people is flawed,” he said. “People concerned about the safety of their children really ought to be more concerned about people who are at the state fair with no record at all. Because 95% of sex crimes that will be committed today will be committed by people who have no record.”
Despite the appeal, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office says the law will be stringently enforced.