Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Guest Article - The 2nd Amendment in Parks and on Greenways

On August 21, 2014 the Murfreesboro City council debated a motion to instruct the City Attorney to create a resolution to allow Handgun Carry Permit Holders to legally carry on the Greenways System.  The Council voted 5-2 to deny the resolution from being written.  Toby Gilley and Eddie Smotherman were the only two Council members who voted to allow this resolution to be written. Keep in mind this vote was just to have a resolution written that could then be debated and brought to a vote on the merit of the resolution.

Mayor Shane McFarland, Vice Mayor Doug Young, and Council Member Rick LaLance all expressed concern that the input from the Greenway Projects Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission was not solicited.  They used this as rational for voting against creating a resolution.  Neither Vice Mayor Young nor Councilman LaLance made any effort to offer a motion to instruct these groups to discuss this issue.  This was quite troubling because Councilman LaLance claimed to be a strong Second Amendment supporter during the last election.  The Mayor is not allowed to make a motion.  Council Member Madelyn Scales-Harris brought up concerns about safety to justify her no vote while Council Member Ron Washington used the excuse that he was not a “gun person” to vote no.

If Mayor McFarland, Vice Mayor Young and Councilman LaLance want to send this “through committee” before voting on the merit, let’s push them to instruct this commission and committee to formulate an opinion and deliver it to the City Council within 30 days. We should not let them hid behind a process to avoid voting on the merit of our Second Amendment Rights in our parks and greenways.  The council holds “open mic” for public comments at 6:30 PM in council chambers at the first meeting of each month. The next one is on September 4, 2014. (note: this meeting has been canceled)  If you are passionate about your Second Amendment rights, join me to demand the City Council proceed with restoring this right to the citizens.   We need to demand our rights not only on the Greenway System, but in our parks as well.  Yes, OUR parks.  If you do not want to speak, just show up to demonstrate your support of the Second Amendment.  Before then, please email and call all the Council members and let them know how you feel.  Let them know how important our rights are in this case.  The contact information is available at the city’s website,

This is a unique opportunity to influence the restoration of our Second Amendment rights.  We need to stress to the Council that the Second Amendment has two parts.  We have the right to keep AND the right to bear arms.  It also states that these rights “shall not be infringed.”  We need to demand our local elected officers adhere to our Constitution.  To solidify this right, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision stating the Second Amendment is an individual right (DC v. Heller, 2008).  Many anti-gun cities and states ignored this ruling.  This lead the Supreme Court to clarify with McDonald v. Chicago (2010) that state and local government cannot infringe upon the rights in the Second Amendment.  Apparently, that word hasn't made its way to the Murfreesboro City Council Chambers.  Let us make sure they hear it loud and clear.

While it is well established that we should have the right to bear arms in a public place, the quickest way for us to stop the City of Murfreesboro from trampling on our rights is to speak out at a council meeting with many attendees.  We all know the safety issues are just fear mongering.  Let’s demand the City Council vote on whether they believe in the Second Amendment.  We also need to vote accordingly in the next election.

When we next vote for city council, the Second Amendment issue gives you a look into whether that Council Member believes in freedom.  Please use this as part of your voting decision.  When we vote in November to replace Councilman Gilley, I cannot stress how import due diligence is before voting.  Contact the candidate and get a statement about the Second Amendment.  If they try to ride the fence, vote for someone else.

Again please join me to speak to the City Council about our Second Amendment rights on September 4, 2014 at 6:30 PM in council chambers. (note: this meeting has been canceled If the meeting is postponed for any reason, the “open mic” will take place at the next meeting.  Council meetings are every Thursday.  Don’t forget to email and call all the members of the council.

Jeff Rainwater