Push to ban guns from parks shot down again
A second push to have guns banned from Tullahoma’s city parks has failed.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen, at Alderman Jerry Mathis’ request, voted on whether to consider a resolution that would ban guns from city parks.
However, Mathis’ motion, seconded by Alderman Mike Stanton, failed in a 4-3 vote.
Voting to allow guns were Mayor Troy Bisby, Aldermen James Eads, Greg Sandlin and Mike Norris. Also siding with Mathis and Stanton in the minority was Alderman Jimmy Blanks.
The Tennessee Legislature recently passed a law, effective Sept. 1, that allows state-issued permit holders to possess guns —concealed or in open view — in city and state parks.
The law also allows cities to opt out from the law and ban guns in their parks by passing resolutions proclaiming their stance.
The Tullahoma Board discussed the issue at length at its Aug. 24 meeting.
It was divided on whether to ban guns, which would take majority support from four board members to do so. However, no quorum supported the move.
Mathis was adamant in telling the board then and again on Monday that he believes firearms, regardless of permit status, have no business being around school athletic events.
He said some school systems wouldn’t allow their teams and athletes to play or participate in events where guns area allowed nearby.
Mathis said the issue goes beyond that because the law does allow guns by permit at non-school related youth baseball and soccer games.
He said he’s seen where participants in those events have become irate and took action that lacked good judgment. He added guns have no place being at events like that.
Norris said he personally has issues with guns being allowed in city parks, but the input he received from Tullahoma residents overwhelmingly supported allowing guns by permit.
Stanton had said on Aug. 24 that as a gun novice, he had initially been totally against allowing guns. However, he said through public input he’d reconsider his position.
Stanton said the law allows a permit to be issued after the applicant has undergone an eight-hour training course — four involving classroom instruction, and the other four in shooting proficiency training.
He said he doubts the training required to obtain a carry permit is adequate.
Stanton said he questions whether the permit process adequately tests emotional stability, and some permit holders could be dangerous.
Kristin Helm, TBI spokesperson, said recently that the background checks to get gun permits are nearly the same as the process used when gun purchases are made.
However, she said the permit process requires fingerprinting applicants where gun sales transactions don’t involve the step.
Mike Browning, Tennessee Department of Safety public information officer, said of the state’s 240,000 valid handgun permit holders, less than 1 percent have been linked to crimes related to weapons.
by BRIAN JUSTICE, City Editor