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Signs prohibiting weapons at Danville parks coming down

By KERRY STEINHOFER 

kerry.steinhofer@amnews.com

After placing new signs at local parks announcing prohibitions on drugs and guns, among other things, Parks and Recreation officials are planning to take down signs prohibiting the carrying of firearms.

City Manager Ron Scott presented to the Parks and Recreation Ad Hoc Committee Monday on the problem of attempting to prohibit firearms at the parks. Danville, Boyle County and the Parks and Recreation Board of Directors do not have authority to post signs in a public park prohibiting people from carrying weapons, Scott said.

City Attorney Steven Dexter said there is a problem with prohibiting firearms. 

“It’s a concealed carry that the state says they are only going to possess the right to regulate,” he said.

This means that open carry weapons are legal, just like they are legally allowed anywhere else, he said.

Judge-Executive Harold McKinney said he saw people shooting bows and arrows at targets just across the fence from Millennium Park. 

Even though the people having target practice were skilled and safety was a priority to them, McKinney said, “I don’t think we want people shooting a bow and arrow or gun in our parks.” 

“We have to think about regulating the use,” he said. 

In deciding what should be put in place of the current signs posted, McKinney suggested that the signs could prohibit discharge of a weapon, “including bows, crossbows and guns, because I think it could become an issue.” 

Magistrate Jack Hendricks said because the parks often have kids, walkers, runners and others using them, a park “is not a place to be target-practicing with anything.” 

“A lot of people wouldn’t consider bows or even throwing knives and that sort of thing, but if the chief has determined that, then I think we need to put that on (the signs),” he said.

Dexter proposed that the current signs in the parks prohibiting weapons should be removed.

“It’s such a clear violation of the law to have them remain,” Dexter said. 

McKinney agreed with Dexter in removing the current signs and moving forward to get the signs replaced with the new regulations.

“We need to come to some conclusion and make sure the public knows what the rules are and go from there,” McKinney said.