Restricted gun use at DeSoto River Park - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Restricted gun use at DeSoto River Park does not sit well with firearm owners

(WMC-TV) - From shell casings on the ground to bullet holes in the signs, park leaders have a real problem with people shooting illegally in an area that is used by families and commercial fisherman.

A proposal to restrict gun use did not sit well with some firearm owners in North Mississippi.

Fishing boats and water hitting the shore are the kinds of sights and sounds people expect at Hernando DeSoto River Park. But instead, people hear gunshots and see signs that look like swiss cheese.

"The bullet holes in the signs, you see shell casings and shotgun shells laying around down here all the time," said park visitor Mike McKell.

County leaders want to make sure families and the many fishermen aren't hit by a stray bullet.

"We are very concerned about the citizens in our parks," said DeSoto County Supervisor Lee Caldwell.

A sign outside of the park warns people that shooting isn't allowed. To add some teeth to the rule, county leaders proposed that only enhanced permit holders be allowed to bring guns into the park.

"I felt like that was a violation of basic rights that we have under our state constitution," Dana Criswell, a proponent of the Second Amendment.

Some felt the proposal took away non-permit holders right to defend themselves. Criswell was glad to see supervisors vote to keep the current ordinance that prohibits anyone from shooting in the parks. He does agree that something needs to be done by the river.

"There's no Second Amendment proponent who believes while you're out with your kids at the park, you need somebody out shooting signs," said Criswell.

The Board of Supervisors will consider closing the park early and implement a permit only system for those who need to use the area after dark, and will discuss it that at their April 7 meeting.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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