No action on guns issue
Weapons will still be allowed in Lenoir City parks, rec areas
LENOIR CITY - Handgun permit holders will be able to carry their guns in all Lenoir City parks and other recreational areas.
The Lenoir City Council on Monday night decided not to act on an ordinance that would have allowed handguns in most parks but banned them at the municipal swimming pool and the Lee Russell Recreation Complex.
The move went counter to the recommendation of the city's Recreation Advisory Board, which voted 4-2 in August to ban guns from all city parks and recreational areas.
The council first heard from several residents who said they supported the right to carry firearms in parks. Tom Harvey said signs announcing the ban in parks wouldn't stop criminals from carrying guns in parks.
"Why don't you just put gun ban signs in banks to stop bank robberies?" he asked.
Councilman Bobby Johnson Sr., who previously voiced his support to ban guns from all parks, made the motion to adopt the resolution banning guns in the two specific recreational areas as a compromise.
"I was against this until I got calls from several women, who I know to be law-abiding citizens," Johnson said. "These women told me about several incidents in the park where they had been harassed."
His motion was met with silence from the rest of the council.
Mayor Matt Brookshire said he had supported the resolution but had no plans to put it back on the agenda.
Lenoir City Parks and Recreation Director Steve Harrelson said the advisory committee had voted against allowing guns in parks specifically because of concern about "tensions rising at some sporting events."
City and county law enforcement officials supported Monday night's decision.
Lenoir City Councilman Tony Aikens, chief deputy for the Loudon County Sheriff's Office, said he supported the Second Amendment right to bear arms and the state's carry permit law.
Lenoir City Police Chief Don White said he had no problem with the council's decision.
"We've never had any crime involving a gun permit holder," he said.