Packing Heat At Local Parks


by Audrina Bigos

CHARLOTTE, NC- Packing heat at the park. It's up for discussion at Tuesday's Mecklenburg County Commission meeting.

There's talk of cracking down on where local park goers can carry guns.

Families packed Freedom Park on the first day of a sunny spring break. But  talk of firearms got some fired up.

"We need to do whatever we need to do to keep our children safe and to have guns around the park, close to the park or anywhere near the park is not a safe environment," said Corilis Martin, a West Charlotte resident.

A 2011 North Carolina law says citizens with a concealed carry permit can  bring a gun to parks.

On Tuesday, Mecklelburg County commissioners will talk about tightening that rule here - requiring people with guns to stay 25 feet away from playgrounds and public sporting events.

Many parents say that's not enough.

"You don't know a person's emotional state, their mentality and you're subjecting other people... innocent people to that person with that gun," said Levee Jordan-Patterson, an Uptown Charlotte resident.

Commissioner Matthew Ridehour stands behind the second amendment - saying guns should be permitted in all park areas.

But when it comes to county law, he's willing to compromise - pushing for looser gun restrictions.

"Every parent is going to worry about their child, but when it comes down to my rights as a person, I don't want the government controlling and giving me more regulations than are necessary," said Christian White, an East Charlote resident.

But parents say safety comes first.

"People drop guns and they go off all the time so that would be my biggest concern... the child getting hurt," said Jason Bogar, a Dilworth resident.

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