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Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Weapons in parks

Posted Saturday, July 4, 2009, at 11:02 AM

What are your thoughts on guns in parks?

From what I witnessed while covering sporting events in parks for many years I'm totally against it.

I've just seen too many decent, upstanding citizens completely lose it at sports events.

One evening I will always recall. I started by covering a girls softball game at Musgrave Park, got ready to jump in my car and hurry to the Park Complex to get baseball pictures...but first I had to separate two mothers fighting over how their daughters were being treated in the softball game.

I arrived at the Park Complex to see a father walk up to his car and slam his first through the driver's side window because, I later found out while rushing him to the emergency room, he didn't think the coaches and eventhe umpires were treating his son fairly.

Shocked? You bet. I knew the fighting mothers and disturbed father well. My opinion of the three had always been they were solid, sensible people.

The incidents, all in one evening, are only a couples of perhaps 200 things I saw take place in parks. Does common sense go out the window when parents think their kids are being treated unfairly?

Tell us your thoughts.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

The folks you mentioned will always be there, and if they have that type of temper problems, more than likely have backgrounds that would prevent them from getting a carry permit.

Alcohol has been against the law in the parks for some time as well, but if you watch, you will see folks drinking their beer from plastic cups anyway.

A law preventing guns in the park would only stop the law abiding folks anyway.

-- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Jul 4, 2009, at 12:31 PM

Well, it seems to me that the law takes into account the differing conditions in each locality. I imagine in some places allowing guns in parks could lower the rate of crime taking place there. In others, allowing guns in parks could increase the amount of violent crime if there is little to no violent crime being committed anyway.

I imagine our parks would be considered the latter, so I have no problem with the exception.

As far as I know there have been no rapes or murders at our parks in the last 30 years, and the one that I heard about then may have just been a "nature trail" rumor to scare children. Is there any way you can find out if we need guns at our parks by using the papers archives to determine the likelihood of a rape/murder or even an armed robbery/mugging? I am guessing we are actually safer in our parks than anytime we enter a convenience store or bar, but I am not at all certain about that.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Jul 4, 2009, at 12:42 PM

"As far as I know there have been no rapes or murders at our parks in the last 30 years, and the one that I heard about then may have just

been a "nature trail" rumor to scare children. "

-- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Jul 4, 2009, at 12:42 PM

NO RUMOR! My family and I have been close friends with the victim's family for nearly 50 years now, and I can tell you first hand that the pain and suffering that family had to endure certainly entitles them to more than a casual dismissal, based on an opinion, unsupported by facts.

The passage of time does not change rape into rumor, nor does it remove the horror and shame of the act from the mind of the victim.

Your comment above seems very insensitive, at the least, and possibly uncaring, at the worst, in regard to this victim.I hope, no, I pray, that I am wrong in my assesment of this situation, and your statement didn't come across as you meant it to, or I am reading it wrong, which is also a real possibility, especially since I have been close to this family for so long.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sat, Jul 4, 2009, at 2:32 PM

ilikeoldsongs, It could have been insensitive on my part, or you may be overly sensitive, but I guess it is most likely a combination of the two.

My reference was in no way intended to be a dismissal, and I was actually hoping to find the facts as they are somewhat relevant to this subject.

My wording may be easier for you to understand if I explain that 30 years ago, I was 8 and only heard about such things from other children, and then only in veiled and hushed remarks, much like the tales of other urban legends of the era. Any doubts I had were not representative of my thoughts regarding the crime or the victim, but the sources of the information I had available. I hope that helps you to see why I could not give the event definitive certainty based on my own limited knowledge.

It would be a mistake to believe that I would ever discount the reality of an incident like that. Actually, you can be assured that the incident affected me even as a child. After hearing about it and having an empathetic knowledge of exactly how awful it would have been changed my behavior and has stayed with me to this day. I do not remember many of the things discussed with my friends when I was so young, but this event came right to me when the topic was raised.

Anyway, if my wording offended, it was unintentional and I apologize for any insensitivity that I displayed.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Jul 4, 2009, at 3:11 PM

memyselfi, thank you for your prompt, courteous, and perfectly satisfactory reply and apology. And just for the record, as you suggested in your opening paragraph, I was a little too hasty, maybe even a little too quick to assume a judgemental position, in defending my friends, before having the facts in hand.I offer my apology to you for jumping the gun, and hope that it will be accepted....Friends?

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sat, Jul 4, 2009, at 5:01 PM

Stupid is all I can think of to say..

who thinks of things like this?

-- Posted by jssg1975 on Sat, Jul 4, 2009, at 10:25 PM

Of course. Defending people you care about is an admirable trait as far as I am concerned. The subject matter is both personal and painful, so you have plenty of reasons to be defensive. Although my comment honestly was innocent in conception, a little more tact was called for, and neglected on my part.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 2:11 AM

I can't believe there should be any question whether or not guns should be allowed in parks. A park is a place for children to play, adults to have a family cookout ect...so where in this picture should there be a gun??? If a park security officer observes a thug selling drugs ect. while in the possesion of a gun inside of a park...then tazer him or mace him or handle it the best way possible and give the gun carrying thug the maximum penalty for having a gun inside of a park.

-- Posted by AmericanWoman on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 9:47 AM

i have really been kind of surprised. seeing as how most of my friends are gun people, i expected some of them would be in favor of the guns in parks law. but not one, not even one single person i know favors this. it doesnt seem to be as much of a gun issue, as a maturity issue. grown-ups realize that there are places it is not appropriate to carry a gun. playgrounds, ball fields, and swimming pools, places full of playing children and families are some of those places.

-- Posted by lazarus on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 10:09 AM

Concealed means that the gun is hidden. I carry mine in parks, church and every where I go. You know those Baptist can get rowdy sometimes.

-- Posted by jim8377 on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 11:20 AM

I agree 100% with you on this one Bo! I too have witnessed normally responsible and sane adults absolutely lose their minds at their children's sporting events. Allowing these people to conceal and carry in our parks where families and children gather is a step in exactly the WRONG direction.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 12:06 AM

just my oppinion, if you are qualified to posses a hcp you should be able to carry your weapon any where you go. if you have any common sense you know from the class your financial responsability. i carry mine every where i go, if a resturant or any where else says no weapons i dont give them my buisness. it is my right to carry and i am going to exercise it. the criminals dont care about a permitt or if guns are against the law. how many guns are carried through parks and ball fields or any other place for that matter that you dont know about. a responsible hcp holder knows you cant just take the law into their own hands! you also know that you better not unholster your weapon unless you or your family is in immenent danger and in fear of life,then and only then it is justified. criminals will kill you over a dollar dont be caught off guard.

-- Posted by tn.moonshiner on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 12:22 AM

well, there we have them, the big 3 arguments.

"it is my right". we have lots of rights, all of which end when they begin to impinge on the rights of everyone else. we have the right to "free speech", which ends before we proverbially "yell fire in a crowded theatre." we have the right to drink ourselves senseless, we dont have the right to drive down the interstate while we do it. all rights have reasonable limits.

people with HCP's are some sort of highly trained super-race. people with HCP's were able to produce a drivers license, a social security card, and $115. i dont think anyone in shelbyville is under the delusion that any of those items except the $115 is difficult to obtain as a counterfeit. there is, of course the grueling course on gun safety, which could last as long as 8 hours. and rigorous requirements (which you must, naturally, volunteer the information if you dont meet them) such as not having been convicted of a crime with a sentence of more than a year in jail. i have even heard claims that HCP holders are as qualified as police. police, even in small towns like shelbyville, have a psych test and undergo a month of training at the police academy. an HCP is easier to get than a real estate license.

then there is the cornerstone argument; that you are in danger of your life any where and any time. this is the one that really scares me, since it reveals a sort of seige mentality that borders on mental illness. will these people one day tell their grandchildren about the day they put their life on the line by going to a t-ball game without a weapon? do they post an armed guard at the bathroom door while they take a shower?

i find myself far less frightened at the thought a criminal might be armed than i am at the thought of these unbalanced individuals roving around armed, with the safety off, just waiting on someone to look at them wrong.

-- Posted by lazarus on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 8:18 AM

i already stand corrected.

a colleague in the police department pointed out that their time at the academy is 3 months, not one.

-- Posted by lazarus on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 10:45 AM


You speak of mental illness, and you suggest that folks "might" provide counterfeit driver's license social security or background information for obtaining their HCP???

Do you not realize that the dept of safety, the same one that issues driver's licenses, issues a HCP? A counterfeit application would show up like a sore thumb.

Also the background checks are performed by the TBI, the same TBI who by state law receives crime information statistics for every citation and arrest that is made in this state.

Do you have any statistics of a fraudulently issued HCP, or is this a figment of your imagination?

You might also get your "colleague" to point out that the academy may last 3 months, but firearms instruction is only one week.

The problem I have with people who want to restrict firearms availability is that they rely on emotional hysterics instead of rational facts.

-- Posted by quietmike on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 11:56 AM

I don't understand why everyone has this...well if bad people can get away with, than they shouldn't make it illegal.

It's like locking a gate. It's keeping the honest people honest.

You allow honest people to take in guns, then you allow them to make an "honest mistake" and shoot their kids coach.

If I was a little league coach...I'd vote for the ban.

-- Posted by acoustik on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 12:50 PM

Using that logic, shouldn't we outlaw all cars, you know, to keep those honest people from driving drunk?

-- Posted by quietmike on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 1:08 PM

jim8377 .. oh god that was funny..

Yeah, we have a permit to carry, but when people are hot headed fools.. then they become hot headed fools with a gun....

We'll always have those. I hate to say that, but i am ashamed at how some "grown ups" act during games. That is one reason I did not push my son to play sports.

Maybe we'll start seeing old fashioned duels?? 10 paces anyone??

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 2:46 PM

Just as I said "you would be amazed at the people that don't have a hcp that carry weapons every where they go". I carry mine every where I go! Yes I have a hcp. It goes to church,walmart resturants, It's like american express "don't leave home without it" It does'nt make any difference to me what people think about it. It belongs to me, and yes it is still at this time my right to do so. And yes I have been in the posisition that some one has really pushed my buttons, but I had enough sense to walk away because I know the law. My hcp gives me the right to protect me and my family in case of bodily harm. I don't mean a punch in the nose or a black eye. I mean thugs that don't respect the law. You know "the ones that have bats knives and guns with intent to cut,knock your brains out and even shoot you for money to support drug habits or just the breeding for deadly violence" I have been carrying for a while now and you would'nt even know I have it on me if you did'nt know. So just because you can't get a hcp or don't have one allow the ones of us that have one the benifit of the dought, that we are responsible holders before convicting us of unjustified trigger happy deadly force. The good people that are hot heads and can't controll their temper don't need a hcp to start with. But is that going to stop the sensless killings or shootings? if crooks can get guns so can any one else. The bottom line is do you preffer a gun or not ? Just because you do not. don't tell the ones that do they can't. That's like me telling you you can't have a cell phone.

-- Posted by tn.moonshiner on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 6:05 PM

I was raised with a gun in the house and taught that a gun does not kill people... People kill people! I also own a hand gun and I think I have enough common sense to own a gun. It is my RIGHT to own a gun... Just like it is your right to own a car. Automobiles kill more people every year than guns do. Do we want to talk about the time it takes to get a drivers license vs the time it takes to get a HCP? If you think for one minute the "crooks and criminals" are not carrying loaded guns in the Parks, then you have a fried brain. Just because things are illegal, does not mean people stop doing it.

My vote is to allow guns in parks, homes, stores and if someone sees me getting robbed at gun point you have my permission to shoot! Does anyone remember when kids use to take their rifles to school in the back window of their trucks? Well I do and I don't EVER remember a time when anyone got into trouble for it. We didn't have all the senseless crap that goes on today.

My children were taught to respect a gun and were made aware at a very young age how to handle a gun. I still have my 22 my Daddy taught me how to load and shoot.

I have never had to use my gun; However, I would rather think that if I was ever forced into a situation where I felt I was threatened by a common criminal I would have the right to defend myself, or my family rather than being killed by a thug.

-- Posted by Union on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 12:07 AM

I respect the second amendment. I still have the first gun my dad gave me when I was 12. However, a children's park is no place for guns. Even if you are mugged, you should not be shooting your gun in a children's park or a school for that matter. There are too many innocent bystanders. When you enter a children's park, your right to self defense takes a back seat to a child's right to avoid stray bullets.

-- Posted by some common sense on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 11:29 PM

I wont shoot any one in a childrens park.I think I am a little to old to frequent the childrens park. I will still carry mine where ever I go. And for the bystanders, only an IDIOT would fire a weapon in a crowd. Just because you carry a gun dont mean you have to fire. The best thing to do if possible is to call police and let them handle it . First you have to be a good wittness. Shooting some one is the last alternative. If you have to use deadly force to stop a threat to your life or your family make sure no one is in the line of sight in case of a through shot.You own the round you fire where ever it goes. Some hcp holders dont need a weapon. You have to use what you were taught in the class and a lot of common sense.

-- Posted by tn.moonshiner on Fri, Jul 10, 2009, at 11:35 PM

"People ignore the truth in favor of drama."-Gary Paulsen

All of these doom and gloom scenarios were also predicted by some with the initial debate over state issued carry permits. Of course those predictions have proven incorrect.

I would ask all to examine the facts and statistics of folks with HCPs instead of letting their imagination run wild.

I guarantee the truth is far less dramatic than some would have you believe.

Remember what fear stands for:

F alse

E vidence

A ppearing

R eal

-- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Jul 11, 2009, at 12:40 AM

tn.moonshiner I have a question and maybe you can help. Is it not still legal in this country to openly carry a handgun, shotgun or rifle. Opt word here is "openly". Just curious what your understanding of the law is...Its rather difficult thru gubmint web sites to get clear consise answers

-- Posted by big daddy rabbit on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 5:34 PM

It varies by what jurisdiction you are in.

Tennessee law states:

39-17-1307. Unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon. --

(a) (1) A person commits an offense who carries with the intent to go armed a firearm, a knife with a blade length exceeding four inches (4), or a club.

-- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 10:12 PM

big daddy rabbit,

If you possess a hcp in the state of tennessee you have the right to carry open or conceled.

-- Posted by tn.moonshiner on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 10:27 PM

I've carried off and on for years without the know of anyone but my wife. Maybe I should be more legal...but what a hassle.

Good gracious Uncle Sam...Who would walk around with guns and ammo and not be considered armed? Bottom line here is I'm wrong for keeping a shotgun in the rear window of my truck, and ammo anywhere near the same vehicle. Australia keeps looking better

-- Posted by big daddy rabbit on Mon, Jul 13, 2009, at 9:43 AM

Even with all the background checks, etc that you getinto with a HCP, it doesn't reveal a person's temper. There are several people with HCP in town that have no business with a gun in a park or anywhere else for that matter. With their temper, they don't need a gun at all. Parks are for children and families to have fun, relax and attend ballgames, etc. If you allow guns in the parks,someone is going to get hurt or worse! Murfreesboro has opted out of the guns in parks. I think Shelbyville should too!!!

-- Posted by nomountainman on Mon, Jul 13, 2009, at 3:36 PM

As a female, I would be in favor. I don't have kids, so I don't go over to the ball fields or anything, so I can't speak from that perspective. I run on the trail sometimes, and in mid summer it's too hot to run early. There's a lot worse things a criminal could do to me than kill me. I'd like the opportunity to defend myself in that case.

-- Posted by cherylrichardson on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 12:21 PM

Who says that these parks are CHILDRENS parks? There are other parks besides ball parks or parks with play grounds. Get real people this is just another way of telling you what you can or cannot do. I carried a handgun for my protection while working before HCPs came about. Being a truck driver I'm still not legal to carry even with my HCP. What good are HCPs if you have one in the vehicle & you pull into resturant parking lots that are posted no handguns allowed? Are you going to turn around go back home leave your gun behind, then drive back out for a meal? Maybe you want to go to a park after the meal and get mauled while taking a walk. Where was you handgun???

-- Posted by Hunee on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 7:48 AM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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