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Debate Over Guns in Parks Really About Bigger Issue

The question over whether guns should be allowed in parks is really only a subset of a greater debate about the presence of guns in our society. Those who disapprove of civilian gun ownership, and particularly civilians carrying firearms for personal protection, want to use the guns in city parks issue to drive a larger debate about the role of guns in our society in general. If the disarmament proponents can convince the public that guns shouldn't be allowed in parks, it would presumably open the door to further restrictions, and perhaps a reversal of the decades old trend of states making it easier for law abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry firearms.

In most states, in order to get a license to carry a firearm, applicants must submit to a criminal background check, and take at least one course in firearms safety and in the law regarding use of lethal force in self-defense. Once they meet the requirements, and are issued a license, we trust these citizens to carry a loaded firearm on their person just about everywhere. Why would we suddenly not trust them when they enter city parks? Why should a woman, who might have obtained a license to carry a gun to protect herself from an abusive ex-boyfriend, have to go without protection when she goes jogging alone in a park? Will the city police assign an officer to jog along beside her just in case trouble finds her? Why does she suddenly become dangerous an untrustworthy among the trails and trees, as opposed to jogging along city streets?

Most reasonable people can see there's nothing special about parks, and realize parks aren't really any safer or different than other public places. But the opponents gun ownership have never been happy about anyone, save maybe law enforcement officers, being able to carry a gun anywhere. It's no surprise that they work to frustrate the exercise of the right to keep and beam arms everywhere and anywhere they can. That's what this issue is about. Having lost the debate over the past few decades in state after state, they are clinging to any restriction they can get anyone to pass, no matter how absurd, unlawful, or unconstitutional. We shouldn't be fooled that this issue really has anything to do with guns in city parks.


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