Council made right choice on guns in parks

By Baker City Herald Editorial Board September 13, 2013 08:13 am

The Baker City Council was wise Tuesday to not tinker any more than was necessary with the city’s parks ordinance and its reference to visitors who carry guns.

The matter came to the Council at the behest of City Attorney Brent Smith. He noticed recently that the city’s current parks ordinance is in conflict with Oregon law.

The city ordinance prohibits people from having a gun in a city park. Yet state law allows some people, including those who have a concealed carry license for a handgun, to have a gun in most public places, including parks.

The Council simply removed the conflicting clause.

Councilors had also considered replacing that clause with one restricting certain people from carrying a loaded gun in a park, but Police Chief Wyn Lohner recommended against doing so.

Lohner’s concern is that someone might choose to test the city’s legal authority by openly carrying a gun, whether loaded or not, in a park.

Lohner, in a memo to councilors, emphasized that though he opposes adding a clause restricting openly carried guns, he doesn’t want to possibly entice people to openly carry guns in parks. We agree with the chief — There’s no reason for the city to create a potential problem where none exists now.