Fear & Loading: Parks And Carry Confusion

by
posted on March 27, 2015
tennesee.jpg

Next week a pair of bills in both houses of the Tennessee Legislature will come to a vote and, if passed and signed into law by the governor, it will alleviate the state’s confusing patchwork of laws governing carry in parks and recreation areas. I wish other states would consider the same measure.

The NRA/ILA has full details here, and if you live in Tennessee, tell your representatives to support the measure. It doesn’t matter where you live—there are always local regulations seemingly designed to confuse, frustrate and hamper your ability to protect yourself until authorities arrive. That’s one of the main reasons any reputable concealed-carry course has a lengthy legal section (and usually a test) that explains where and when you cannot carry.

Thankfully, things are improving. I lived in a state at a time when carrying concealed on national forests or game lands was illegal, unless you were hunting. Apparently, the state’s bears and muggers are allergic to profanity the other nine months of the year. Then there’s the odd financial institution rule, state parks and even major events on government-managed property.

It’s confusing, but it also means there are times you may not be able to carry for the entire day. An easy example is the thousands of parents who will be stopping on their way home from work to watch Junior’s Little League team in the next few months. If they can’t carry at the park, but usually carry at work, should they lock it in the car at the ball diamond—if that’s even legal—or just hope “today isn’t THAT day?”

Parks and recreation areas are not exactly safe places, either. This month an unarmed 51-year-old Philadelphia man was shot and killed by a pair of punks while walking his dog. As fate would have it, he told his young daughter she couldn’t accompany him on the walk as usual because it was getting too late. I’ve been sending thoughts and prayers for his family and friends since I read the news—and it’s the kind of tragic happenstance that will stay with that little girl for the rest of her life.
 
It would have been nice if a permit holder was in that park that night, though, and overheard the multiple times the victim asked that they spare his life. But, then again, it was a park.

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