LC Gun Ban Fails

And fails badly. The much discussed gun ban proposed for some Lenoir City parks finally came before council at Monday's meeting. Mayor Brookshire gave the council the particulars on the proposed ban which would have prohibited licensed gun permit holders from carrying their guns at the Lee Russell Complex and the Lenoir City Pool.

The meeting began with a time for citizens to comment. Brookshire imposed a three minute time limit on anyone wishing to speak. Two citizens spoke in opposition to the gun ban. After the citizens spoke, Brookshire asked council if there a motion to adopt the gun ban. No councilmen spoke out. Brookshire was about to declare the motion dead for lack of a motion when Bobby Johnson Sr. spoke up to make a motion to pass the gun ban. No one seconded the motion. Brookshire declared the motion dead for lack of a second.

Brookshire went on to say he supported the the gun ban and felt it should have been passed. Councilman Eddie Simpson asked Brookshire what now was the status of the gun ban resolution. Brookshire replied it was dead. Simpson asked if the matter was going to be brought back to council. Brookshire said he had no intention to bring it back up based on tonight's vote.

The failure of the resolution means that the city parks would now fall under the state law which allows gun permit holders to carry their weapons in city parks.

Here's the one thing. I was pleasantly surprised by the council's vote.  But if we look back a little less than a year ago, the same council voted unanimously to ban legal permit holders the right to carry their weapons into city hall. That's a head scratcher.

Anyway, hats off to council for upholding the rights of it's citizens this time. 

No action on guns issue

Weapons will still be allowed in Lenoir City parks, rec areas

By Hugh Willett

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.