(Memphis) The issue of guns in parks has long been a topic debate. With recent public violence, many say people need protection.
“Things are changing. People are fearful for their lives and their families,” said Napoleon Yancey of Bartlett.
Tennessee already allows guns in parks, but cities have an option to opt out.
A bill passed by the State Senate Thursday removes that option.
The mayor of Bartlett, Keith McDonald, says his city voted years ago to allow guns in parks as a deterrent.
“Allowing people who were permit holders to carry, you would make it so people who came in to do bad things would have to think twice or three times,” said McDonald.
He doesn’t see a good reason to change the law and force cities to comply.
“Cities change, governments change, so somewhere down the road you could have a different elected body and people may think differently than we do, but they are not gonna be given the opportunity to vote on it,” said McDonald.
The group Moms Against Guns in Parks is worried about the safety of kids. It has launched a Facebook and telephone campaign to get the bill defeated in the House.
State Representative Antonio Parkinson is pro-gun, but says there is a bigger issue here: allowing local governments to govern themselves.
“They are closer. They understand the pulse of the city, what the city needs a lot more than we do, because we are at the state level. It’s a fairly simple argument. They should have the ability to decide what’s good for their parks and what is not,” said Parkinson.
Parkinson says the bill is likely to come before the house next week, and there is already a lot of talk about whether or not it will pass.