published Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Commissioners wary of gun ban in Bradley parks

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Some Bradley County commissioners say they cannot support banning handguns in county parks if the carrier has a permit.

County Parks and Recreation Director Paul Wyrick is asking the county officials to opt out of the new state law. A vote is scheduled Monday.

The new law allows anyone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon to do so in all state and local parks. Local governments may opt out of the law, if they wish. The deadline for opting out is Sept. 1.

"It is very important that we pass this (opt-out provision)," Mr. Wyrick told commissioners are their workshop Monday night. "My staff is not trained to deal with guns."

Some commissioners pointed out that people with permits have been trained and gone through background checks.

"This would only apply to law-abiding citizens," Commissioner Jim Smith said.

"So these are responsible citizens," Commissioner Ed Elkins added. "Those who would come in with no good intentions won't care about the law anyway."

The state General Assembly vote shows there is widespread support for allowing people with permits to carry concealed weapons in parks, Commissioner Ben Atchley said.

"I understand the dilemma for the parks director," Mr. Atchley said. "(But) I don't think I can take away the rights of a law abiding citizen to protect themselves."

The issue came up Monday at the Cleveland City Council.

City Manager Janice Casteel urged the city officials to opt out of the state law. Only police should be carrying guns in city parks, she said.

But the council split 3-3 with one absent, meaning the measure did not pass and leaving the city open to concealed guns in parks.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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reliabilityguru said...

I live in Ocoee but I frequent the Bradley parks and state parks. I am a legal concealed carry permitted citizen and I appreciate the fact that I can protect my family and myself. I would venture to guess that crime in state and local parks will remain low if permitted citizens are allowed to carry their weapons. If they are not allowed, then the only weapons carried are the ones by criminals. Crime always increases when the criminals are the only citizens with weapons. I applaud the police, my son-in-law is a state trouper, but try timing until a policeman arrives verses instant help.

July 29, 2009 at 1:51 p.m.
Vandy said...

Since they are not allowed in the parks when schools have games, picnics, etc. according to our state AG, how does one know if they can carry when they see children present? Since violent crime is basically unheard of in the city parks, I see no need in allowing the guns. I feel sorry for the gentleman from Ocoee that he doesn't feel safe in Cleveland without his gun.

July 29, 2009 at 9:37 p.m.
Oldshooter said...

Vandy, You may have missed a crucial point here. You may see no "Need" to allow guns, but it doesn't require such a need. For those who have taken the trouble to obtain a concealed carry license, the right is already there (as it is for everyone under the Constitution, but that's another story). What IS required, and should be demanded of the council, is an overwhelmingly strong argument for why it is necessary to deny those who carry a sidearm for self-defense, their right to do so. You could say, with the same level of justification, that you see no need for people to be permitted to discuss politics or religion in the parks, and ban such speech. After all, discussion of those topics sometimes leads to arguments and potentially to violence. At least the concealed carry crowd have clearly demonstrated that they are well controlled and unlikely to get violent.

July 30, 2009 at 3:10 p.m.
EaTn said...

The commissioners have two choices: 1) Listen to the permit holders and those who support guns in parks, then approve guns.

2) Listen to those who oppose guns in parks, then reject guns.

Yes, the state legislation put you in a no win situation, but they kept their good standing with the NRA.

July 30, 2009 at 3:38 p.m.
wolfer said...

The city os Springfield, Tennessee pasted a resolution banning people from legal carried firearms in city parks and similar public places..i'm trying to get support to stand up against this....join my cause here on facebook.

July 31, 2009 at 2:34 a.m.
yogiman said...

In today's time, people are being killed in all areas of life, churches, parks, schools... you name it. In every case, if a civilized person had been permitted to be armed, slaughter could have been stopped.

Look at Va. Tech.; several veterans were on campus, well trained, but not permitted to be armed. That caused 33 young people to be killed. WHY?

Criminals stay away from places when they know SOMEONE in that crowd might be armed.

To all of you officials who are opposed to the 'right to carry' law, I hope you are never in a situation where you will have to re-think your decision. Honest, law abiding citizens are good to have around.

I've recently read of two cases where killers have entered churches in service but were stopped immediately by a church goer who was armed.Doesn't that tell you idiots something?

August 5, 2009 at 10:47 p.m.
yogiman said...

Oldshooter, you are right about the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution but what the heck, it just gives our government another way to make a few more bucks.

It looks like the Constitution has been abolished by our so-called legislature. They are passing too may laws, not by it, but what good it will do for them.

I sent our senators and my rep a pocket-sized copy of the constitution but it seems they didn't get it. At least they never acknowledged it.

August 5, 2009 at 11:04 p.m.
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