Commission committee recommends banning guns in parks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commission committee recommends banning guns in parks

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The right to bear arms took center stage at a Shelby County Commission committee meeting Wednesday.  Shelby County commissioners J.W. Gibson and Wyatt Bunker, who are both gun permit holders, dueled in the meeting over a resolution to ban guns in public parks.

"Even back in the days of the Wild Wild West there were limitations as to where they carried their guns," Gibson said.

"All you're doing is restricting the people who are law abiding citizens," Bunker countered.

After some healthy debate, the committee voted in favor of the ban.  Some residents are up in arms over the vote, others are backing commissioners.

"I was disappointed," Memphis resident Sam Cooper said.

Katie Balthrop agreed with the vote.

"Guns don't belong in parks," she said. "That's a place for kids and families to play."

Cooper believes the ban prevents law abiding citizens from defending themselves against gun toting criminals.

"The only people that are going to be stopped by the bans, the signs, the postings are people that obey the law, and those aren't the people you need to worry about," he said.

But Balthrop says guns are not the answer.

"Guns aren't the only way to have personal safety," she said. "I think if they're just not around, and if police are aware and are patrolling the area and are there to keep people safe, I think that guns have no place."

The Memphis City Council recently passed the same resolution.  Though guns are already banned in Shelby Farms, the county's only park, commissioners wanted to counter the state's new law allowing guns in parks.

The full commission must now vote on the guns in parks ban at its next meeting.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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