Park Commissioners: Everyone but rangers can carry guns in Franklin County MetroParks
What do you call a security guard without a gun?
And that's no joke. But two out of three Board of Park Commissioners in Franklin County recently voted to continue a ridiculous prohibition against arming park rangers.
From ThisWeek Community News:
Tracy Rader, representative of the Fraternal Order of Police/Ohio Labor Council, said the union was "saddened" that the park district's board of commissioners opted not to arm the 18 full-time rangers who patrol the 17 parks.
"We believe law enforcement should be armed," Rader said. "We stand by that and we'll stand by that always."
According to the article, of the three commissioners, only Jim McGregor supported the union's position.
"If we have (Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy)-trained officers, it should be part of their gear," McGregor said.
Commissioner Greg Lashutka appeared to be open to the measure, saying "it was not off the table." Jeff McNealey said he currently is against it.
"We as a Metro Parks system treat civic safety and the safety of our personnel as one of our highest goals," McNealey said.
"However, in addressing the issue on how those goals are going to be met, we have to decide whether any specific action is going to have a measurable effect on the enviable record of safety in the Metro Parks system."
Rader argued that in other jurisdictions where the various parks are located, police are allowed to carry guns in the parks, as are civilians. Battelle Darby, for example, has a public hunting area.
Not only are people allowed to carry guns in public hunting areas, but concealed handgun licensees are also allowed to enjoy the MetroParks without having to surrender their Second Amendment rights.
And then of course there are criminals, who could care less about the law, and who might well decide to take advantage of the fact that rangers are unarmed. But rangers shouldn't worry, the two Commissioners say, since they've approved "additional non-lethal defensive weapons for law-enforcement staff."
According to the article, the rangers are now equipped with radios, Mace and handcuffs. Specifics of what additional nonlethal weapons are under consideration were not detailed in the resolution.
Both McGregor and the union said they will keep encouraging the other commissioners to support the request for armed rangers.
"We're going to keep pressing," Rader is quoted as saying. "We're not giving up."
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, and BFA PAC Vice Chairman.