At-large Councilman Jerry Maynard expressed confidence Tuesday that the votes were in place to opt Metro out of the new state guns-in-parks legislation.
Maynard was optimistic despite the fact the bill would be deferred until Aug. 4 because of the actions of one Council committee.
The Council public safety committee voted to defer the opt-out bill, which would have been on second reading at Tuesday’s meeting.
“It’s clear today we have the votes to pass this ordinance to opt out, just like nine other municipalities across the state have already done,” Maynard said. “However, some other Council members are trying to delay because they know they can’t vote it down.”
The committee’s chairwoman, District 8 Councilwoman Karen Bennett, preferred to defer the bill until after a July 30 open forum in which those in favor and in opposition to the state legislation will plead their case.
District 33 Councilman Robert Duvall, who has opposed the legislation, voted in favor of deferral.
“I’d rather get it right the first time,” Duvall said, in response to Maynard’s claim the bill could be amended at a later date.
District 27 Councilman Randy Foster has proposed amendments to the bill. One would allow guns in parks one hour before sunset until the parks closed. The other amendment would allow guns on Metro greenways and nature trails.
Maynard worried that the committee’s move to defer would jeopardize Metro’s ability to post the signs banning guns in parks should the bill come into law.
“We have 115 public parks and if this bill doesn’t pass until Aug. 18 (when it would be on third reading), then that leaves just 13 days to get the signs ordered, printed and posted,” Maynard said.
Maynard said Chief of Police Ronal Serpas, Mayor Karl Dean and Director of Parks Roy Wilson all favor Metro opting out of the new state legislation.