Martin considers ban on firearms in parks
Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2009 9:23 pm
By: Sabrina Bates, Special to the Messenger
By SABRINA BATES
Special to The Messenger
While a recent state law allowing handgun permit holders to tote their firearms to state and local parks was approved by the General Assembly, the City of Martin is considering opting out of the legislation.
The Union City Council is expected to address the same issue at its meeting Tuesday.
According to Martin Mayor Randy Brundige, while the bill passed in the state’s General Assembly, municipalities were given an option to ban carrying a concealed weapon to local parks.
Board members debated the proposal during an informal session of Martin’s board of mayor and aldermen Tuesday evening.
“I don’t have a problem with guns, but they have a place,” Brundige said.
He added he would leave the decision to pass a resolution to “opt-out” of the state law that permits carrying a concealed handgun in local parks with the board of aldermen.
“This is another type of gun control and I don’t really like it,” alderman Randy Edwards said.
“We don’t really need everybody carrying a gun in all of these places,” alderman Bill Harrison said.
Under the current legislation, state law allows handgun carry permit holders to take their concealed weapons to parks, which includes greenways and ballfields.
Brundige added that if Martin housed a state park, a resolution banning handguns in parks would not apply to the state park.
“For me and my family out at the park, I would be very apprehensive with other people carrying handguns other than officials. I mean, what’s the rationale for carrying a gun to the park?” alderman David Belote said.
Local governments have the ability to opt out of the new provisions and prohibit possession of handguns within public parks owned or operated by the city through the adoption of a resolution.
The resolution must pass by a majority vote.
If the measure banning handguns in local parks is approved, the City of Martin will be responsible for providing signs stating the carrying of weapons on a public or recreational property carries a maximum penalty of 11 months and 29 days and a fine not to exceed $2,500.
Martin’s board of mayor and aldermen opted to place the resolution on Monday night’s meeting agenda. Board members will vote on the resolution during their formal session at 5:15 p.m.
Editor’s note: Sabrina Bates is news editor at The Weakley County Press in Martin.
Published in The Messenger 7.16.09