Letters needed to Memphis Commercial Appeal


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Seminole
May 11, 2007, 10:50 AM
Today the Memphis Commercial Appeal printed the following editorial (http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/editorials/article/0,2845,MCA_25348_5530798,00.html):

Shelby County has just over 25,000 handgun owners with permits allowing them to conceal their weapons and carry them most anywhere. Most of them are surely cautious, well-adjusted, law-abiding citizens.

As recent events in Memphis have demonstrated, the possession of a handgun permit is not a guarantee that the possessor handles weapons in a cool-headed, responsible manner, however. Persistent efforts to extend handgun carrying rights to courtrooms, school grounds, bars and, now, state parks seem to be based more on ideological than practical reasons.

By a 6-4 vote, the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved legislation that would eliminate the prohibition on guns in public recreation areas, such as parks, playgrounds or civic centers.

What really has given a boost to the bill, according to its sponsor, Rep. Frank Nicely, R-Strawberry Plains, is last month's massacre of students and faculty members by a deranged student at Virginia Tech University.

As tragic and scary as that incident was, it might be more instructive to note that eight crimes against persons were reported in state parks in 2006. That's out of 50 million visits. Seventeen of the state's parks reported no crimes.

Tennessee Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke is strongly opposed to allowing guns in the parks, except those worn by park rangers and other commissioned law enforcement officers, and he's right. Let's address problems where they exist, not where they can be imagined.

Letters to the editor can be sent by snail mail, fax, e-mail or by filling out a form that can be found on this page (http://web.commercialappeal.com/newgo/forms/letters.htm/), which also lists the information required to get your letter published.

Does anyone know what the following refers to? As recent events have demonstrated, the possession of a handgun permit is not a guarantee that the possessor handles weapons in a cool-headed, responsible manner.

Possible points for response to the editorial include the following:

1) Permitting CCW in parks is in fact based on a practical reason: park rangers and other LEOs can't be everywhere in public recreation areas, therefore people should be allowed to provide for their own safety and those of others.

2) People with pistol permits have passed rigorous background checks, have been determined to be law-abiding citizens, and have undergone extensive training in the practical and legal aspects of the use of firearms.

3) The statistics regarding past crime rates in state parks are irrelevant for two reasons: Statistics about Virginia universities did not reveal that Cho would commit mass murder. Additionally, the bill covers all public recreation areas, not just state parks--many city parks are in dangerous neighborhoods where parents should be able to legally protect themselves and their children. Refusing them that right discriminates in favor of rich, primarily white suburbanites who live in safer areas.

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