Guns allowed in Mt. Juliet parks, except when used by schools
MT. JULIET, Tenn. - Effective Tuesday, permitted gun owners in Mt. Juliet will be legally allowed to carry their weapons into city parks, but not all of the time.
The Mt. Juliet City Commission voted 3-2 recently not to "opt out" of a controversial state law passed this year that allows handgun permit holders to carry their weapons into parks.
The new law collides with another state law that bans firearms at Tennessee school events, and most Mt. Juliet parks have playing fields used by the schools.
New signs go up Tuesday saying handguns are banned during those student activities.
The "opt-out" clause for local governments helped get the measure passed, but the suburban Wilson County town is one of the few large municipalities that has chosen to let the law go into effect.
"I don't know why people would want a gun in a park with a bunch of children," said Lois Bedtelyon as she watched several of them play at Charlie Daniel's Park on Monday. "I brought a whole bunch of toys for the children to learn how to share so that when they get big, they don't need a gun to figure things out."
Bedtelyon was not alone in her opposition to the new handgun carry law.
"Even though they have a permit to carry them, it just gives them a bigger excuse to have more problems," said Jenny Cruz, who came to the park with two of her children.
A few miles up the road, at a local gun shop, Brian Moore believes the handgun carry issue is about following the second amendment responsibly.
"You are not going to stop a criminal from doing it so why would you stop someone who has proven to be a good citizen and never had a criminal record?" he asked.
A handgun permit holder, Moore said the mothers and kids at Mt. Juliet parks will be safer with someone around who might protect them with handgun.
"I would want the security to know there is somebody with as good a record and the qualifications and training as a police officer that's armed and will take care of the situation," Moore said.
Several of his customers nodded in agreement.
At least 13 cities in the Mid-State, including Nashville, Franklin, Brentwood, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, and two counties, Davidson and Williamson, have "opted out" of the new law that takes effect Tuesday.