Republican councilwoman calls law allowing guns in parks "ridiculous"

January 29, 2010 UPDATE : Republican councilwoman rethinking stance on guns in parks

By Chad D. Baus

Dayton Daily News writer Christopher Magan is reporting that the City of Beavercreek is considering a change to an ordinance prohibiting guns in public parks to comply with a state law passed in 2007 and upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2008. "Unfortunately," Magan editorializes (in what is purported to be a news story), "the City Council has no choice."

The story, entitled "Law allowing guns in parks irks Beavercreek councilwoman," notes that the move to restore rights to persons with concealed handgun licenses (CHLs) has at least one local official upset.

From the story:

"I agree with the right to bear arms, but my children play in a park," said Councilwoman Phyllis Howard, who called the change an "accident" waiting to happen. "It's just ridiculous to allow in a park. What in the world would you need a concealed weapon for in a park?"

Howard's naive question is, actually, quite easy to answer.

  • February 22, 2009 - Jory Aebly and Jeremy Pechanec are murdered - shot execution-style - during a robbery in a downtown Cleveland park.
  • May 28, 2008 - Chevonne Ecclestone dies after being attacked in a Cleveland MetroPark by a recently-released convict and beaten on the head with a 15-20 pound rock.
  • May 6, 2008 - A woman is abducted from a Lorain County MetroPark, raped and shot in the back, then taken on a high-speed chase after witnesses spotted her in the open trunk of her attacker's car.
  • April 23, 2008 - After just finishing a jog in a Toledo MetroPark, Fernando Gonzalez is stabbed in the face below the left eye. His attacker then killed Gonzalez's dog.
  • February 22, 2007 - A 16 year-old girl is robbed, then abducted and taken to a Toledo city park and raped by two attackers, one of whom brandished a gun.
  • May 19, 2005 - Cleveland park officials warn park-goers to avoid wild boars and coyotes.
  • April 16-17, 2005 - A 61 year-old bicyclist is attacked by an aggressive female coyote in a Cleveland MetroPark. A hiker's dog is also attacked in a separate incident the following day.
  • August 16, 2004 - An 11 year-old girl is raped in an area of a Toledo city park that neighbors have nicknamed "hell."
  • August 6, 2004 - A 14 year-old boy is raped at gunpoint in a Cincinnati city park.

Howard uses her children playing in a park as an excuse for her desire to prohibit others' right to bear arms for self-defense, but one has to wonder how she would feel if that were her child in "hell," or if it had been her friend who was abducted while jogging in a city park.

A quick Internet search reveals that there are nine city parks and a dozen registered sex offenders living within two miles of the Beavercreek city offices. The search also reveals something about Phyllis Howard, who as it turns out isn't just a Beavercreek councilwoman.

According to the Greene County Board of Elections, she is also an elected member of the Greene County Republican Central Committee. One wonders how local Republican voters and the other members of the county central committee will react to news that Howard only conditionally supports the Second Amendment.

Again, from the story:

On Jan. 25, the council took the first steps to bring the city ordinance in compliance with the court's decision. Stephen McHugh, city law director, said the ruling overturned another city ordinance, similar to Beavercreek's, that prohibited carrying weapons in city parks. "(Beavercreek's current) statute would not stand a constitutional challenge," McHugh said.

...McHugh said modifying Beavercreek's concealed weapons ordinance will require two more public readings and then 30 days before it takes effect.

The City of New Philadelphia also revised its ordinance recently, after a request was made by Police Chief Jeff Urban. Urban noted "The old ordinance did not let [CHL-holders], for instance, walk into the cemetery to visit their dead mother; wouldn't let them stop and pick up an ice cream cone at the park; wouldn't let them walk down the street in New Philadelphia – it's city-owned property. That's wrong."

Buckeye Firearms Association is currently attempting to work with the Beavercreek city council to resolve the issue. If you'd like to share your thoughts with Howard and other council members, click here.

Chad Baus is a Member of the Fulton County, OH, Republican Central Committee and the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

January 29, 2010 UPDATE : Republican councilwoman rethinking stance on guns in parks

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