Commission approves change to rules allowing concealed weapons in parks

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Concealed weapons will be allowed in county parks now that an Indian River County ordinance has been changed to be in line with the state’s rules.

That means anyone with a valid concealed weapons permit won’t have to leave their weapon at home when going to various functions at county parks.

Though commissioners unanimously supported amending the county’s ordinance to be in line with the state’s a couple residents spoke out against the move.

Jens Tripson told the commission that he would feel less comfortable going to the county’s parks knowing that someone there could be carrying a weapon.

“If people are paranoid enough to carry a weapon,” he said, they are either paranoid and not someone who should be in possession of a weapon or there is a crime issue at that park that should be addressed.

Self-described Second Amendment Rights supporter Scott Oberlink also opposed the county’s change to the ordinance.

“Where there are guns, there are accidents,” he said.

Oberlink added that, though he agrees with allowing people the right to protect themselves and their property, they don’t have the right to endanger other families.

Approving the repeal of the county’s prohibition of weapons at parks “would be a terrible mistake,” he said.

Oberlink explained that many activities at parks become emotional, especially youth athletics.

“Children, crowds and firearms are not a good mix,” he said, urging the commission to reconsider.

“Our parks are safe enough without self-deputized patriots,” Oberlink said.

County Attorney Alan Polackwich told commissioners that they could not opt out of the state’s law or establish a law that was more restrictive than the state’s because the state’s rule preempts all others.

He added that there has been legislation introduced in Tallahassee that, if approved, could fine counties or other lower governments if they were to pass a law that is in conflict with the state’s rule on concealed weapons.

“I think our hands are tied here,” Commissioner Peter O’Bryan said.

The issue was brought up earlier this year when resident and shooting instructor Michael “Kory” Taylor pointed out that the county’s rule was inconsistent with the state’s.

On Wednesday, Taylor said he was glad to see the commission bring its rules in line with those of the state.

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