Town of Farragut discusses lifting ban on guns in parks

Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen discusses lifting ban on guns in parks

Posted:
The Town of Farragut opted out of the state law allowing guns in parks, but is reconsidering the ban. The Town of Farragut opted out of the state law allowing guns in parks, but is reconsidering the ban.
Alderman Bob Markli, a passionate gun owner, says support comes from a groundswell of public reaction following a proposal in April regarding mandatory gun ownership that was voted down by the board. Alderman Bob Markli, a passionate gun owner, says support comes from a groundswell of public reaction following a proposal in April regarding mandatory gun ownership that was voted down by the board.
"We bike a lot, and so I feel totally unsafe on my bike biking through the greenways and the parks without a gun," Crystal Chambers said. "We bike a lot, and so I feel totally unsafe on my bike biking through the greenways and the parks without a gun," Crystal Chambers said.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

FARRAGUT (WATE) - Farragut leaders are reconsidering whether to allow guns in the town's parks.

The Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen held a workshop Thursday night to discuss whether to bring the issue up for a preliminary vote at its meeting, which follows the workshop.

A state law passed by former Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2009 allowed handgun permit holders to carry their weapons into parks, but local governments could opt out. 

Farragut chose to opt out, and the City of Knoxville continued its long-standing ban.

Crystal Chambers often goes to Campbell Station Park in Farragut with two year old son. Even though guns and firearms are banned in parks and greenways in Farragut, Chambers says she rarely goes unarmed.

"We bike a lot, and so I feel totally unsafe on my bike biking through the greenways and the parks without a gun," Chambers said.

Farragut town leaders say they've heard concerns from people like Chambers wanting to carry in parks.  

Alderman Bob Markli, a passionate gun owner, says support comes from a groundswell of public reaction following a proposal in April regarding mandatory gun ownership that was voted down by the board.  

"They're uncomfortable with their wives, their family, elderly people having to go into parks without their right to carry," Markli said.

Not every greenway in Farragut is completely in the town limits. 

Parts of Parkside Greenway behind the Turkey Creek Shopping Center are located in Farragut, while other parts are in Knoxville.  

If the law passes, somebody legally carrying a gun on the Farragut side can cross over into Knoxville and break the law.  

"It would be really nice to see some consistency, because I was unaware that one place you're able to carry and one place you're not," said West Knox County resident Stephanie Bullock.

The Farragut Parks and Recreation Department recently surveyed 150 people on whether they want guns in parks; the results were mixed.  

"I like it without the guns, but I see a need for it. We're not safe anywhere we go now," said West Knox County resident Wanda Joiner. 

"It's a place to go to with pets. You're there to be active, and really that kind of activity has a different place," said Bullock.  

The change would only affect Farragut-owned parks. Those include Anchor Park, Campbell Station Park, Grigsby Chapel Greenway, Mayor Bob Leonard Park, McFee Park and Greenway, and Parkside and Turkey Creek Greenway.

Contrary to popular belief, Concord Park actually belongs to Knox County, and the county already allows guns in its parks.  

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