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Stevensville mayor vetoes gun ban in parks


By Michael Howell

Stevensville Mayor Gene Mim Mack has issued a letter to the Town Council vetoing the portion of the recently passed weapons ordinance that would prohibit the carrying of firearms in the Town’s parks. Saddled with an outdated ordinance that prohibited the carrying of firearms, whether openly or concealed, anywhere in the Town’s limits, which was judged to be in violation of state law, the Council adopted a new ordinance that allowed open and concealed carry except in municipally owned buildings, at public assemblies, at the schools and in the town’s parks. In those places firearms were still prohibited.

Mayor Mim Mack told the Council in his letter that he believed they had appropriately considered the impact on the public of prohibiting the carrying of weapons at public assemblies and at the schools, but he felt they had not fully enough considered the impact on the public if guns were prohibited in the parks.

Mim Mack stated in his letter that the town was uniquely situated in the county between Missoula and Hamilton and attracts a lot of “out of town” visitors to its parks and that the impacts of the ordinance on those people needed to be considered.

“We took considerable testimony from the public surrounding the need to protect themselves while visiting our parks,” wrote Mim Mack. “While I believe our parks are safe for all users, many do not. Our ordinance as adopted may not fairly balance the way a person chooses to provide for their safety while in a park…My veto of this ordinance is intended to permit the council to reconsider the impact on public safety within our regionally used parks.”

He went on to state that, “Important to this reconsideration is an understanding and an acceptance that we are a diverse community of people with many different views.”

State law requires the Council to act at its next Council meeting, scheduled for Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m. to either override or confirm the Mayor’s veto. It takes a two-thirds majority of the full Council – in this case, three of the four Council members – to override a veto.

3 Responses to Stevensville mayor vetoes gun ban in parks
  1. Nikki Weiss
    June 6, 2013 | 5:24 pm

    I remember there being some discussion in the past of wanting to put cameras at the park because of crime problems. Now I’m being told I can’t protect myself there? I have had an incident in the past of being at a park in Stevensville with my younger children where I didn’t feel comfortable with some others that were hanging out there and their behavior. I didn’t call the police because no actual crime had been committed, but I felt very uncomfortable with the situation and decided to leave before anything might happen. I think for a handful of people to say that we don’t have a right to have any way of protecting ourselves and our children is hideous nonsense. You really think it is unsafe to allow us to have a weapon at the park? Really? How many incidents do you have with law abiding citizens being unsafe with their weapons? And criminals don’t care one bit about following your laws. If they are going to break another law of hurting someone, they won’t care about breaking your weapons ordinance. A weapons ordinance doesn’t stop crime and keep people safe, it only encourages crime and keeps people unsafe.

    I received my handgun training from a law enforcement agency. They feel comfortable that they have trained me to the point that I can be responsible with a firearm, but somehow the city council feels they have more knowledge about this than a law enforcement agency? My understanding is that the Sheriff’s Department and County Attorney have spoken against this ordinance. So basically, the town council wants to force women into the position of not being able to protect themselves in a place I’ve already felt unsafe. While I’m sure at the same time, they speak out about “violence against women”. Speaking as a woman, I refuse to place myself in a defenseless place and be a victim. If this passes, I believe not only the criminals should be held responsible for crimes that take place, but also the politicians who pass laws that make us vulnerable targets to the criminals. If this passes, I will no longer be visiting the parks, and I will do my best to limit the amount of business I do in Stevensville.

  2. business owner in hamilton
    June 5, 2013 | 2:32 pm

    Reguardless of what happens im am telling every customer i talk to STAY AWAY FROM STEVENSVILLE LIKE THE PLAGUE! Bunch of anti american, anti constitution elected servants up there.

  3. Mike in Stevensville
    June 5, 2013 | 2:07 am

    Isn’t that just nice for the mayor to write “While I believe our parks are safe for all users, many do not.” The police chief himself said he knew there were safety concerens for the citizens in these areas and he doesn’t have the man power to cover everything. Don’t forget the Sheriff said he can’t and won’t cover these areas, because it’s not his jurisdictional responsibility. So… mayor thinks everything is peachy keen in these areas, and he and his council know what’s best for us. These cronies do NOT take care of us by attempting to deny us our Constitutional Rights.

    Please go the next meeting at town council June 13th at 7 PM (check a couple days before to see if there will be a public comment time before the meeting) and make your voice heard. Whether you live in town or not, if you work, shop, or recreate in town, this IS your business!

    When seconds count and the police are minutes away, who will take of you? YOU will, with your RIGHTS.

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