The Cookeville city council Thursday night postponed action on a resolution which would ban anyone from a carrying handguns in local parks. A state law, which goes into effect this fall, allows people with handgun carry permits to take their weapons with them into any state or local park. But municipalities can opt out by passing their own local bans. However, city council member Ricky Shelton said the issue needed further study. He made a motion, which passed without opposition, to hear from both sides of the issue, but to defer any action until the council meeting on August 6. As it turned out seven citizens stepped up to the podium to speak on the issue. Three were against the ban; four were in favor of it. Among their comments:
Jim Murchison: "I think we should continue to prohibit handguns. I particularly think about areas such as the Sportsplex, over on the west side of town, where I think children are encouraged to participate and be part of what's going on. And I would hate to think children are out there engaged in these sports activities, and people are taking their handguns into such settings."
William Shires: "I hope that members of the council, I hope that everyone here has actually read the Tennessee law, and you know that the law allows legal, licensed, carry of a handgun. It doesn't allow you to go out there and get drunk and so on and so forth. And I hope you're aware that criminals, who don't obey the law, are already carrying in your parks and everywhere else."