GARLAND — Commissioners recently approved banning weapons on town property and letting the public know with signage.
The decision was made during a Tuesday meeting after Police Chief Ron Matthews made a presentation to the board. Matthews said carrying and concealing weapons (CCW) in not allowed on state property, according to a state code. But a statewide uniform statute says that towns may allow CCW in designate places such as parks. Currently there’s no signs on Garland’s building. During the meeting, Matthews said that’s something Matthews want to rectify soon.
“I’m not sure why we don’t have them on now,” he said about the signs.
Garland Mayor Winifred Murphy said she was concerned about weapons on town properties, in light of recent mass shootings throughout the United States. She said the matter was brought up in the past and required an ordinance for the action to happen. Matthews said a state law supersedes any action taking by local officials, but they have to agree to put up signs.
“The only thing that’s required is for the board to make an agreement to post the signs,” he said. “But it’s state and federal law that (weapons) are not allowed on town property, just like they wouldn’t be in the county courthouses.”
It was noted that a sign at Curtis D. Cain will let the public know about rules such as not having weapons in the area. But Matthews said an ordinance may be established for the park, while using the City of Fayetteville as an example.
“There was a couple people who wanted to carry their weapons while they took long walks along the river,” he said about a park in the city. “They adopted those for those particular areas.”
But Matthews stressed that he doesn’t want any weapons in Garland’s park for security reasons and preventive purposes.
“So far everything’s been great and the kids have enjoyed it,” he said about having a safe environment. “We don’t want to encourage anyone coming into the town and doing otherwise. That being said, we having children right next door playing on the swing set. If anything were to happen, (children may get harmed).
Along with guns, there was also a consensus to ban other weapons, such as knives, from all town property including parks. Murphy questioned how the no weapons policy would be monitored and asked if it would require metal detectors.
“It’s one of those things that if you’re not caught, there’s no foul,” Matthews said. “But if I see a bulge in someone’s pocket that looks like a weapon, I have the right as a law enforcement officer to challenge them for that.”
He said that includes weapons such as large knives and brass knuckles.
“I’m not going to tell my secrets, but I can tell if you’ve got a weapon,” he said.
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