Williamson Co. considers opting out of guns in parks - WKRN News 2

Williamson Co. considers opting out of guns in parks

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WILLIAMSON CO., Tenn. - A new state law to take effect this fall allows handgun permit holders to bring weapons into state parks.

In response to the law, several local governments, including Williamson County, are considering keeping bans on guns in place.

Supporters say carrying a gun is their second amendment right, but opponents argue weapons have no place in parks where kids play.

Mary Brockman is one of the Williamson County Commissioners sponsoring a resolution that would stop gun owners from bringing their weapons into Williamson County parks.

Brockman said, "There is this interconnected, interrelated relationship as you can see here, between parks, schools and playgrounds."

As of September 1, 2009, carry permit holders can bring their guns into Tennessee parks, unless individual cities and counties choose to ban them.

In Williamson County, schools use many county parks for athletics. 

If commissioners don't opt out, students would have to stop using those parks and the school system would have to build new facilities and that could cost up to $30 million.

"It would be extremely difficult to try to have handguns, prohibited in some areas and right next to that particular park, they would not be prohibited," said Brockman.

Commissioners also fear that by not banning guns in parks the county could jeopardize sporting events sponsored by the TSSAA, which has said in the past, it won't play where guns are permitted.

The Williamson County Commission will take up the issue again next Monday, so will Brentwood city leaders, followed by Franklin city leaders next Tuesday.

In Murfreesboro, city leaders will look at a proposal that would allow permit holders to carry their guns in city parks, except when athletic events are planned.

The TSSAA said it would take its big "Spring Fling" athletic event somewhere else if guns are allowed in Murfreesboro's parks.

The city of Murfreesboro will look at that alternative plan at its next council meeting.

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