Author Topic: Missouri: Proposed weapon ban facing opposition  (Read 473 times)

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Missouri: Proposed weapon ban facing opposition
« on: October 09, 2008, 01:21:17 PM »
Courtesy of News-Leader, Springfield, MO -

Proposed weapon ban facing opposition

Gun groups against City Council's plan for parks and fields.
Ashley Wiehle News-Leader October 9, 2008

The Springfield City Council may find itself in the crosshairs of a contentious issue if it approves a legislative wish list that seeks to ban concealed weapons from city parks and sporting fields.

Prior to state passage of a concealed carry law in 2004, guns were prohibited in parks by city ordinance. But when concealed carry permits were legalized and the list of restricted areas chosen, parks were left off -- overruling the 1971 ordinance.

The state law prohibits guns in schools, government meetings or major sports stadiums that hold 5,000 fans. But it doesn't ban them in parks.

"Our concern is that these (parks) are areas where children gather and families," said Jodie Adams, director of the Springfield-Greene County Parks Department.

The council may actively work to ban guns from parks if it adopts a list of legislative priorities laid out Tuesday by its finance and administration committee. The list details what the council wants city lobbyists to push state lawmakers for in the coming year.

Wednesday -- a day after the list was unveiled -- gun groups statewide started making plans to rally against the proposal at a future council meeting.

"We're going to show up and tell people if you're going to vote against Second Amendment rights ... and leave us at the mercy of the criminals, we're going to vote you out of office," said Zachary Bauer, founder of, a communication hub for state gun groups.

Not all council members supported the legislative priority. Councilman Doug Burlison voted against the measure.

"You're placing obstacles in front of people that prevent them from adequately protecting themselves," he said.

City Attorney Dan Wichmer said buildings on park properties can ban concealed carry weapons the same as schools, but the open area of a park itself is another matter.

"Parks across the state, unless you have a building that you post (no concealed carry), there's no way to keep people from carrying guns into the park," he said.

Wichmer said the city has pursued the amendment for the past few years, but that pro-gun groups have lobbied against the change.

Chief Park Ranger Matt Coats said he would support restricting concealed carry in city parks. He and four of his rangers do carry guns as part of their duties.

Coats and area law enforcement agencies say they haven't experienced any problems with concealed carry holders in city parks or sports facilities.

However, they said they would support the measure as preventative.

"Parks are such a place of public access here," said Police Chief Lynn Rowe. "The more guns we introduced into any environment, the potential for risk is there, so I think that's what they're trying to do."

Still, gun rights activists say there is no reason to restrict parks without evidence of a problem.

"They're desperately looking for a solution for which there is no problem," said Kevin Jamison, an attorney and president of Missourians for Public Safety. "Why they want to waste their time like that is a mystery to me."

Others say parks are secluded spots where people may become isolated and vulnerable.

"If you make those gun-free zones, then you're telling the criminals where to go to get the victims where they can't fight back when they're following the law," said Kansas-City based firearms instructor Don Treece.

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