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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guns in parks create a dilemma for citizens

Thursday, August 6, 2009

As a local citizen, user and supporter of our parks, I feel strongly that allowing gun permit holders to carry weapons into our parks sets a very bad precedent. Let's take the highly charged emotions out of this issue and look at the facts:

1) The only reason a person carries a gun is to be able to use it when that individual feels the need. I don't want my family, children or grandchildren in a place where guns are legally allowed to be used by anyone other than law enforcement and security personnel if a situation warrants it.

Law enforcement personnel have been rigorously trained to respond to situations appropriately, as opposed to gun permit holders who are not. Gun permit holders do have training, but certainly not at the level of law enforcement and hence are more subject to making dreadful 'mistakes'.

2) In our parks are the Little League and game fields, often packed with children and families. Would these areas be exempt from the gun carry laws? I don't believe that Little League and game fields are included as allowable places for gun permit holders to carry guns. But bullets don't stop at the boundary line of a Little League field.

3) In addition, we have lovely indoor facilities with swimming, games, craft classes located in the park. Would gun permit carriers be legally allowed to enter these facilities with guns? If they are going swimming, would the guns be put in a locker? What would people using the locker room do if someone whom they don't know (and are not allowed to know whether they have permits -- it has been labeled 'secret' information -- an invasion of privacy) who is changing, takes off a gun holster and puts it in a locker.

To be frank -- I would call the police and/or security because I wouldn't know whether it was legal or not. And nobody else would either until law enforcement arrived. Does law enforcement have access to gun permit lists to verify if it is valid or forged? What if the gun permit holder is from another state--like New Jersey? These sorts of calls could waste a considerable amount of time on the part of law enforcement and hence cost the city a lot of money.

4) Our parks are currently used by our school children; how can the two laws be reconciled? If gun permit carriers were allowed in parks, that would exclude the parks' use by school children as part of a school field trip or outing because of the absolutely essential 'no guns in school" rule. So our educational system would be hamstrung, and of course, the children, who love the parks would be deprived as a result; it would be one less healthy, educational activity for them in which to participate.

The result would be to have to increase costs to expand outdoor facilities at the schools to make up for it.

5) Shelbyville proudly hosts the Walking Horse Celebration every year, bringing in fame and millions in revenue. Visitors come from all over the world, and should a 'incident' occur as a result of guns in our parks during this time, a very unpleasant spotlight would focus on our community. And it could cost us dearly.

6) I believe there is a conflict of interest for council members voting on this issue who a) are gun carry permit holders themselves or have a close family member who is and b) are members of or are affiliated in any way with the National Rifle Association, a political action organization; quoting from it's official web site: "NRA affiliates play a major role in the delivery system of NRA Programs. By becoming affiliated with NRA, you will send a strong message to those who threaten our gun rights and you will help to continue the shooting sports tradition."

But the issue on the table here is NOT 'shooting sports' in our local parks. I believe that any vote by affiliated council members against opting out of 'guns-in-parks' is subject to challenge on the basis of conflict of interest. Hence I suggest those individuals should abstain from voting on this issue.

7) Some communities have ducked the issue by letting it die on the floor for lack of a motion or second, but is this not an abdication of responsibility and essentially handing an unfunded mandate to our taxpayers that will have to shoulder the costs?

8) The most balanced approach to this would be, in my estimation, that the issue be voted on by our community. It is the local taxpayers that will be asked to pay for the increased costs to the community involved with this issue and they should have a say.

And since the opt-out must be done before September, I would recommend that the council vote to opt-out until a general vote can be taken, and if it is voted by our citizens that we allow gun carry permit holders to carry guns in our local parks and they are willing to shoulder the increased financial burdens for schools, law enforcement and court costs, then the vote can be rescinded, and the gun carry permit holders will be allowed in parks.

Just for the record, I personally own two guns, but I don't feel it imperative to carry them around town.

W.C. Abbey-Carlton has been a resident of Shelbyville since 1993. She presented this statement to the City Council this week.


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"I believe that any vote by affiliated council members against opting out of 'guns-in-parks' is subject to challenge on the basis of conflict of interest. Hence I suggest those individuals should abstain from voting on this issue."

What an ignorant statement. I suppose people that go to church should not have a say in the abortion debate either since they have chosen to make public what they believe in? We elected these councilmen based on their beliefs and our belief that they could accurately represent our beliefs. This is the typical liberal argument that you are right and anyone else that feels strongly about something different than you is somehow less elite than you and their opinions should not be counted. The whole purpose of this article is to try and put fear into those who don't actually know the facts by casting doubt. Instead of asking questions about what the facts might be, you might try doing some research and presenting some real facts. The facts are that every study done has found that areas where people carry guns are safer and have much lower crime statistics. When TN passed the gun permit law, you fear mongerers warned that there would be accidental shootings everywhere and innocent bystanders would be getting killed left & right. In the 12 years that we've had legal carry permits how many people have been accidentally shot by a carry permit holder? There's a question for you that you're not going to like the answer to.

-- Posted by ianlee74 on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 3:17 PM

Glad you taking the emotion out and only looking at facts.

"1) The only reason a person carries a gun is to be able to use it when that individual feels the need. I don't want my family, children or grandchildren in a place where guns are legally allowed to be used by anyone other than law enforcement and security personnel if a situation warrants it."

So you would rather a person be robbed, raped, or killed quietly, so as not to disturb you or your family at the park?

You don't want your kids at a place where guns are LEGALLY ALLOWED? What about illegal guns?

People with HCPs are LESS likely to commit a crime with a gun than are police.

EVERY SINGLE state that has allowed civilian carry has seen a crime REDUCTION.

The fact that a person has went to the trouble of getting a permit says they are rational, level headed people that think about actions and consequences. The very last people that should worry you.

Taking school children to a park that allows guns wouldn't violate the law. The park doesn't instantly turn into a school because school children are there, any more than it turns into a restaurant if someone brings food to the park.

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 10:18 PM

I see no facts at all in the statements made in this opinion column. Every word is speculation based on your personal belief. No facts just opinion.

-- Posted by docudrama on Sat, Aug 8, 2009, at 8:41 AM

If we put our minds to it,we might find a safe,sane way for people to carry weapons and keep the innocents around them out of danger.

I'm wary of those who *have* to be armed to feel empowered.

I have REAL qualms about any who want to limit the posession of even POSSIBLE weapons to those with badges or military personnel.

The careless and criminal can turn anything into a source of danger.

Can we not limit the damage fools and villains can cause and still enable a gun safety class,a historical re-enactment group,martial arts group,etc. to have facsimile weapons,peace-bonded weapons and even have responsible people carry edged blades,live ammo and the like in an appropriate manner?

I don't like the idea of guns,knives,etc. becoming ego-boosting props for the panicky or irresponsible.

I don't like the notion that,one day,weapons could be the exclusive toys of the State's "pest control" service.

Let's remind folks that having a gun is both a right and a privilege.

Let's demythologize our guns so they can be respected as tools-nothing more and nothing less.

The deadliest weapon a person can possess is a free and rational mind.

If people enter our parks and schools with one of those,they can safeguard themselves and others even without "packing".

If they lack that source of power and maturity,then the most they can achieve while armed is hurting themselves and the lives and property of others.

Could we not try to find a workable compromise that recognizes the intelligent gun owner and curbs the excesses of those who would remove all traces of self-defense and those who woud turn their entire word into a bad Western or gangster movie or the shooting gallery of a penny arcade?

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sat, Aug 8, 2009, at 6:00 PM

I wish somebody would do a study on how many people shoot other people and compare those totals to people who have a permit verses those who carry a gun without a permit.

Stopping permit holders from carrying a gun in parks is not going to stop the ones who actually shoot people from carrying guns.

In fact a permit holder carrying a gun in the park may very well save the life of you or your child if you are attacked in the park.

To the Permit holders of Shelbyville: If me or my family are at the park and some thug tries to hurt or rape one of my family. Please feel free to shoot the thug.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sun, Aug 9, 2009, at 10:33 AM

Don't you worry about the Horse Show and bad publicity!! If you haven't already figured it out, what happens during the horse show is never publicized. Never. Go back several years and look at the newspaper. You will find that during the 10 days that this event is going on, there is never anything negative printed. It all comes out the week after all of the visitors leave. I didn't believe it until I saw it either. Tis True! So any incident that you could fathom happening.....no one will ever hear about it!!!

-- Posted by bcpwoman on Sun, Aug 9, 2009, at 11:56 AM

W.C. Abbey-Carlton? A resident since 1993? Maybe this person needs a little education on responsible gun ownership.

Aside for the occasional high school basketball games, I rarely see armed security at the park. I hope Mrs. Abbey-Carlton can keep running for her attacker long enough to allow a police officer on the scene. As for me and my family, we will be standing over our attacker until the police arrive where I will show them that I legally used a weapon in self defense and the person that attacked my family is face up or face down in the ground. Doesn't matter to me who they fall as long as they fall.

-- Posted by sameoldstory on Sun, Aug 9, 2009, at 1:14 PM

How many people have ever been shot inside the park at Shelbyville? I know I have not heard of one in the last 8 yrs while I have lived here. I am not aware of the laws about people with HCP how can you tell if someone whom has a gun on their side does have a permit or not? The only thing that scares me is not knowing who actually has the permit to carry a gun and someone being able to carry a gun thinking that they might not get checked for the permit. It would be like all the people in Shelbyville you hear about that get caught hunting out of season or driving without a license!!

-- Posted by eagleeyes on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 2:07 AM

"Stopping permit holders from carrying a gun in parks is not going to stop the ones who actually shoot people from carrying guns."

Dianatn

I agree. The problem with guns is that the people who usually use them do not have permits and occasionaly have a criminal background. Even if we pass laws to keep them out of the park. They will still carry them wherever and whenever they like. You are not and will not have an effect on the person with no legal permit to carry his 22 / 9 mil / whatever tucked in the front of his pants concealed only by his overhanging belly. But good luck.

-- Posted by brown eyed girl on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 11:51 AM

How many people have ever been shot inside the park at Shelbyville? Posted by eagleeyes on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 2:07 AM

How many terrorist have you ever heard of that flew planes into buildings before 9/11? Just because it has never happened does not mean it can't or won't.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 3:53 PM

"Let's take the highly charged emotions out of this issue and look at the facts"

-W.C. Abbey-Carlton

I did not see one "fact" presented in this article.

-- Posted by Chad O on Tue, Aug 11, 2009, at 12:31 PM

Again, a liberal minded view-point which expects and demands that all law abiding, American citizens forfit their second ammendment right to keep and bear arms. They want to label us as "the dangerous ones you had better watch out for." The fact is, law breakers will think twice when they know that there are legally armed citizens among them and have to guess who they are. All citizens, then are safer in both public and private gatherings.

-- Posted by volunteerorange on Thu, Aug 13, 2009, at 1:00 PM

And what's going to happen when you are standing over an innocent bystander? You won't be able to claim self-defense then and you will have infringed on another persons rights. How are you going to determine if the situations warrants you pulling your own gun?

Shootout at the ok corral. Get your women and children off the streets.

Keep your guns at home or move out west. I wouldn't even think about carrying mine around with me.

-- Posted by stardust on Thu, Aug 13, 2009, at 3:54 PM

You determine when to pull your gun based on the threat posed by the assailant and other options available to you at the time.

Why are folks so concerned with "regular" folks carrying a gun when it is also "regular" folks who make up a jury to decide if a person has committed a crime?

It might be catchy to say it will be like the old west, but there are no facts whatsoever to back up those claims.

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Aug 13, 2009, at 4:36 PM

More than likely, the innocent bystander would face a greater chance of being injured or killed by an assailant shooting randomly rather than from the alert defender taking out the threat! I guarantee if a member of your family was saved by the quick actions of a legal law abiding citizen, you would be forever grateful. Has it ever occurred to you, that the law breaker does not care if they have injured, maimed, or killed another human? I'm an American and a Tennessean - I ain't going nowhere.

-- Posted by volunteerorange on Thu, Aug 13, 2009, at 5:01 PM

Sorry, but I will take care of my family at the park without a gun. I don't want you using your gun anywhere near them even if you do have a permit.

-- Posted by stardust on Fri, Aug 14, 2009, at 3:48 PM

The parking lot at Kroger's is not the same as the bleachers at a ball game.

If your assailant also had a gun and innocents such as your family were caught in the crossfire(there are many incidents reported which do involve crossfire killings), then would you still consider your actions as self defense even though you were the one responsible for the killing?

I can protect myself and my family using common sense and awareness of my surroundings and by avoiding situations which I consider questionable. I have survived many,many years doing so.

Criminals do not generally hide their guns and often act suspiciously. I am more afraid now of those permit holders who are carrying their guns concealed.

I have had my say and I have my guns at home and I have training in using them. That is where they are going to stay unless I move to a secluded area.

-- Posted by stardust on Sat, Aug 15, 2009, at 8:27 AM

Sounds like W.C. Abbey-Carlton is the woman sitting next to me at the city council meeting to whom had never seen a carry permit before I showed her mine because she said the same thing there about the police having to respond will cost too much. For your information W.C. the police don't charge by the visit.

You can approach anyone that you see with a gun if they are careless enough so that you see it and ask if they have a permit for it? and can you see this permit? We will be happy to show you. If they refuse call the police.

I pity your ignorance on the subject.

By the way, Don't be so impressed with the "training" that police get. I know plenty of law enforcement officers and am familiar with their skills or lack of skills that prepares them for armed confrontation. Ever wonder why there are so many taser incidents now? I have seen many many cops panic and make bad knee jerk decisions. They are just people. They are not Marines. I was. You are all for keeping someone like me from being able to come to your aid in a violent situation. Now I will avoid going anywhere where the city votes for the criminal to have the upperhand. Be sure to call the police before you get attacked or robbed so they will have enough time to get there before the crime instead of afterwards when they can only draw a chalk outline around you and your children's bodies.

-- Posted by T2 on Sun, Aug 16, 2009, at 1:26 AM

I hope you do stay away from anyplace where guns are prohibited. I will feel much safer (I wasn't worried to start with). There was just an incident on the news in the past few weeks where someone-maybe a boxer(?)was robbed at a gas station and he took his gun from his glove box and chased the criminal but was unable to catch him. Guess what happened--the criminal came back while he was going in the store and shot him in the back. If he hadn't pulled a gun, he would still be alive. Didn't do him much good did it?

I may not be military but I come from a long line of military personnel and they do not feel the way you do.

I also recall that several incidents involving guns being brought to high schools and colleges were actually stopped by other students who were unarmed.

Sorry---I don't need your gun while I am watching a ball game or swimming or doing aerobics. When it comes to that, then I will stay home because I don't want to be the one who accidentally kills someone in a crossfire situation.

You are free to carry your gun anywhere else, so what is the big deal about having it at a city park? I don't have a gun permit but I do know what one looks like because I have family who do and I have actually thought about getting one just so I can use it to argue with people who don't understand why I don't want any stranger to have a gun around kids who they are not related to.

-- Posted by stardust on Sun, Aug 16, 2009, at 8:25 AM

Which statement best describes your belief on the issue of guns in parks?

People should be able to carry weapons in parks for self-defense: 68.5% (280 votes)

Guns in parks are a bad idea and will lead to increased violence: 31.5% (129 votes)

409 votes cast

The GENERAL PUBLIC has spoken! Guess the commissioners only want to represent the people who did not want to pay 9.00 on their electric bills to haul off the trash.

-- Posted by Union on Mon, Aug 17, 2009, at 9:28 AM

Polls only reflect the opinions of the people who respond. I wonder how many of those who wanted guns in parks actually go to HV Griffen. If you are scared there, then I am surprised you ever went anywhere. Guns in secluded parks or parks with large secluded areas simply cannot compare to the playground or the ball park or the pool.

-- Posted by stardust on Mon, Aug 17, 2009, at 4:53 PM

Hey don't go nuts on me here but the image of little league parents, soccer moms and hockey parents,ect... with guns just makes me just want to shake my head, can't you just see the comics they could draw up about that, No way on earth would I be a referee or coach at one of those games ( think about wearing one of those striped shirts that would be about the same as pinning a target on your self ).. Now unless the parent have calmed down a whole lot since my kids played sports, I find that almost more frightening than guns in the bars..... (This comment is all in fun folks) . I was at a kids soccer game once and one Dad chased the ref around for some odd reason, just picture that with the gun waving in the air....I think if that guy had one he would have done just that too.... or how about the poor coach who didn't put little Johnny on first base where his Daddy thought he should be.....

I'm not actually making any case for or against guns here. I'll save that for another time.

-- Posted by LetsGetRealFolks on Thu, Oct 1, 2009, at 11:38 PM


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