Do children, township parks, guns go together?
KEN TRACY | COMMUNITY PRESS GUEST COLUMNIST
During the last couple of weeks, I've had the opportunity to research, study and discuss with several township residents Ohio's concealed weapon law and policies. During this time, I heard various views about the topic and learned two key points:
1. Registered gun owners with training and a permit may carry their concealed weapons into non-enclosed parts of many public areas, including our state, regional and township parks. To go even further, a resident may carry a non-concealed gun into a park as long as it is in full view.
2. The home-rule provision of the Ohio Constitution gives cities the right to legislate and manage policy surrounding this topic, but not townships. Currently, our state legislature are working on and moving towards a statewide consistency policy that will help with a clearer understanding surrounding this controversial issue.
So where has this left us, especially those who are elected to protect residents and children?
Just recently, Miami Township was forced to lift its ban on firearms in parks in order to follow the current state law. With this action, I received calls asking me "why?" and "how could this happen?" My response was that we are following the current law in place by the state of Ohio. We are limited with our choices in following what our state legislature has put into law, or else we faced almost certain defeat in court if anyone challenged our ban.
I would never suggest abolishing the right of gun ownership by law-abiding citizens. Moreover, the criteria for licensing owners in the state of Ohio is a very solid process that does protect us from individuals who should not be a gun owner because of past criminal activity.
All I ask is, "Do children, parks and carrying guns in the open go together?"
The obvious answer is "no." It is common sense to fix an obviously bad predicament. Guns don't belong in parks, only happy, fun loving faces of children. Gun owners have every right to keep and protect what is theirs; but when it comes to guns in the parks, the citizens have the right to protect our children.
What is it that you Buckeyes from Ohio don't understand? We've had county and local park carry since the inception of our shall issue CPL laws here in Michigan. And we've had state park carry for about as long as Ohio has had CCW. You know what, so far, as I know, NO ONE has been shot in any of our parks, by a CPL holder.
And, I CAN remember when children and guns DID go together. I was one of those children. My father would take me and my sister out in the counrty to go shooting. Back then, you could go almost anywhere to do that. Now you have to go to an approved range, hope it's not too close to someone's house who might start complaining about the noise, OR you go to a commercial target shooting range that might be reasonable in their prices, or they might charge out the ear.
And yes, citizens do have a right to protect their children. I protect mine with my lawfully owned, legally carried, concealed pistol. How do you protect your children? With words? Gee, I hope not. You of course realize, that while laws will keep law-abiding citizens from carrying a gun, they NEVER stop the criminal. Yet for some reason, the namby-pamby left wing nut cases NEVER consider the criminal element as a threat. Why is that?