By JOHN B. BRYAN
There has been much to do about Lebanon City Council’s decision to “opt out” of the new state law that would allow law-abiding gun permit holders to carry concealed weapons in city parks. While I believe and support the legal right to carry handguns, I agree with the city council and its decision to “opt out” of this potentially dangerous state law.
I base this on being a parent and having kids participate in athletic events around Wilson County. I have also had many years of experience umpiring baseball on several different age levels.
Every parent who has a child to participate in “youth sports” has seen that one situation that got out of hand and another parent who acts in a way that is embarrassing for the child and the team. Although it did not happen here, many may remember the youth ice hockey game a couple of years back when a parent came out of the stands and clubbed one of the youths playing in that game to death because he believed his son had been wronged in the game.
That same parent who loses his or her head in the heat of battle is probably a law-abiding citizen every other day of the week, but acts in a way that is not consistent with their day-to-day demeanor. That one breaking point is reached and they react. I have seen bottles thrown, helmets hurled and fences climbed. I have seen parents escorted to their cars and asked to leave the premises and even the police called in several situations to calm down an upset spectator of youth sports. Sadly, these things happen. God forbid if one of those law-abiding citizens who are licensed to carry a handgun loses his or her head and shoots up a Little League baseball game in a heated confrontation. That is the potential. That is why I think it is better to lean on the side of caution and opt out of the state law. Call me conservative or call me an idiot, but I know what I have witnessed and I know that the potential I have described does in fact exist.