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Pistol-packin' mamas are going to be just mamas at some Tennessee games

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Before you bring your big-ass gun to a youth sports event in Tennessee, you’d better check with the local constabulary first. That’s because some Tennessee localities are already taking advantage of a loophole in a law, effective Sept. 1, that allows handgun permit owners to carry guns into any public park.

3200979329_634514a42d1Hold your fire.

For example, despite expressing love for the Second Amendment, the Williamson County Commission (that’s the county immediately to the east of Nashville) voted 24-to-nil Monday to ban guns in county parks. However, it also voted 18-to-6 to allow its opt-out to expire in May 2010, in order to figure out whether school teams are allowed to use parks where guns are OK. In Tennessee, guns are not allowed in schools (which are getting to be among the few places where they’re not.)

Meanwhile, the Williamson County seat of Murfreesboro itself opted out of the gun ban. As Williamson County did, Murfreesboro made the point that its vote, taken last Thursday, had nothing to do with how much everyone loves guns. However, Murfreesboro is the site of the annual Spring Fling, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s five-sports-at-once state championships. The Murfreesboro vote came one day after the TSSAA said it backed down enforcing its own Spring Fling gun ban on advice of counsel. I’m going to take a not-so-wild guess that Murfreesboro was afraid it would lose the lucrative event to a less trigger-happy town.

Among the other municipalities on the don’t-shoot list: Clarksville, the hometown for Fort Campbell, and Bristol, home of a NASCAR race. Many other cities and counties are still debating the issue, and some might be passing bans while I type. One city that had a proposed ban on the agenda Tuesday night was Dandridge, where three people were fatally shot (one of the dead was the shooter) at a youth baseball game.  However, opponents of the ban might say, with some justification, that it wouldn’t have prevented that 2006 incident, which evolved from a domestic dispute. Meanwhile, other cities are tabling measures or outright rejecting bans.

The best back-and-forth exchange I’ve seen on opting out of the Tennessee law comes from the comments section of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. (Of course, all comments are presented as raw as they were typed. How am I supposed to copy edit them?). From a person who presumably wants guns allowed:

I’m a father of two daughters, ocassionally we’ve tried to enjoy riding our bicycles together on the greenway trails, these trails are considered to be city or county parks. However, in the past, I have felt very uncomfortable riding these trails because of the transient and homeless individuals, often appearing impaired by drugs and/or alcohol, that seems to frequent some areas of these trails. Allowing people with handgun carry permits, (citizens who’s backgrounds have been throughly checked by the FBI, TBI and Sheriff and found to have no history of felonies, domestic violence or mental illness), to go armed in those parks would give me comfort when recreating on the greenways. Because opting out of the law will not stop those who illegally carry weapons with intent to prey on or harm knowingly unarmed, law-abiding individuals. I want the right to defend myself and my daughters if some drug-crazed person pulls out an illegal weapon and threatens to do us harm.

A response. I’m sensing this is sarcasm:

On certain Saturdays in the fall, I like to take my kids down to the riverwalk and there are thousands of people clad totally in orange. Huddling in groups around massive mounds of food and coolers, their loud and disturbing rituals pierce the afternoon air as we try to ride our bikes. I have felt very uncomfortable sometimes when groups of men will shout and stare at me and my kids, often appearing impaired by alcohol and excessive amounts of fatty foods. After several hours, their eyes are glazed over, their guts are hanging out over their trousers, and usually we are scared by men who jump out of bushes after relieving themselves….or worse. All I know is, I would feel a lot safer if the city of Knoxville would allow he to execute my HCP to the fullest extent. I’ve been welding this rack to my handlebars that would enable me to mount two pistols and not have to worry about losing control of the bike. I want the right to defend my kids if some booze-soaked pumpkin face tries to do something. All we’re guilty of is wearing these really pretty maroon sweaters that my mother-in-law knit for us last year. Please, Knox Countians, take back your parks!!!

Written by rkcookjr

July 13, 2009 at 10:56 pm