Concealed weapons ban varies across local parks:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


As of Tuesday, it's legal to carry a handgun into the parks of three McMinn County towns as long as you are a concealed weapon permit-holder.
Calhoun, Englewood and Niota let the Sept. 1 effective date of the new state law pass without taking action on the matter. While the towns are not barred from taking action at a future date, until they do permit-holders can carry in the parks as long as no official school function is going on.
A law passed by the Tennessee Legislature allows permit-holders to carry firearms into parks, although local governments were given the opportunity to opt out of the state law by approving local bans.
Calhoun Mayor Gary Barham said the matter would not be an issue in a small town such as Calhoun, so the city decided to follow what the state had laid out.
Englewood Town Manager Bob Cass said he had asked the Englewood City Commission if it wanted to address the issue before its last meeting, but the consensus was to delay voting on the matter at this time. Cass, too, said he did not believe it would be a major issue for the town.
For Niota permit-holders, the freedom may be short-lived.
"The city of Niota will vote on a handgun resolution at its next meeting in September," said Mayor Martha Walden. "The resolution would prohibit handgun permit-holders to carry guns in our park (if it passes)."
"I don't think it will be a issue," said Amber Stoner, a Niota resident who was out watching children under her care playing at the town's park Tuesday. "It's not really a big park. As long as they are registered and don't have it out playing with it I think it will be fine."
The cities of Athens and Etowah, along with Decatur, voted to ban permit-holders from carrying guns into their respective parks during meetings last month.
The Meigs County Commission, however, took no action on enacting a ban. McMinn County's commissioners also never addressed the issue...

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