Yesterday, Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee signed the bill that legalized defensive handgun carry in parks statewide. This was after the bill took a tortuous trip through the legislature. The enacting of this law got mixed reactions from local officials. The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero stated in an email, “…Our existing policy has worked very well to keep our public spaces safe…”, while Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill laments, according to the same News-Sentinel article, the fact that the Town of Farragut has spent $300,000 for an outdoor classroom, and he now thinks that, “…schools won’t be able to go in there if they think there’s someone with a gun permit there…”
Perhaps Rogero (who can get a police escort any time she feels she needs it) doesn’t remember August 14, 2013, when a sexual assault occurred at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville. Existing policy worked very well for the assailant in that case; but for the victim, not so much!
Maybe, too, McGill, has trouble understanding the phrase, “…Failed to take reasonable steps to leave the area of the athletic event or school-related activity after being informed of or becoming aware of its use…”, as it pertains to permitted, legally armed citizens.
The fact that these officials can’t seem to acknowledge is the permit holders, as a demographic group, have a lower crime rate than police. They appear to get very upset when they lose some of their monopoly on power. In the WBIR-TV embedded report, Chief David Rausch states, “I think we know best in terms of safety for our community.” It looks like he missed on that Ijams Nature Center incident.
Should the police are the only ones to be trusted with guns. Why would the police want to shoot themselves in the foot on this issue, anyway?
On the other side of the coin, Knox County parks have been open to legal carry by permitted individuals since 2009, and the same News-Sentinel article notes that Doug Bataille, director of parks and recreation for Knox County, …hasn’t seen any noticeable problems.
The still photo above shows the author looking over Cumberland Park in Nashville. The absurdity of this photo is that the pedestrian bridge is not posted against handgun carry, so anyone could legally carry a handgun while traversing the bridge, but up until yesterday, could not step into the park.
Officialdom must come to grips with the notion that a gun is an inanimate object. This inanimate object can be used for good or evil. Arbitrarily banning citizens from carrying these tools gives the armed gangster a decided advantage over the unarmed citizen.
Today, even as the Tennessee Firearms Association reports on the imperfection in the new law, permit holders celebrate the opening up of these citizen owned spaces to lawful self-defense.
Tomorrow, there are other barriers to the basic human right of self-defense to be overcome.
For a complete breakdown of the new law click HERE.