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Gainesville changes local law to allow guns in parks
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Gainesville City Council members said they had to approve an ordinance Tuesday night allowing guns in city parks. 

A 2010 state law allows people to carry guns in city parks as long as the person has a valid carry license. However, Gainesville had not changed its code to conform with the law.

City Attorney Bubba Palmour said the city was required to bring its code in compliance with state law. However, firearms are still banned in federal parks run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

“We’re going to address that by putting signs up at the three corps parks; Lanier Point, Holly Park and Longwood Park,” said Melvin Cooper, Gainesville Parks & Recreation director.

Councilwoman Ruth Bruner said allowing guns in parks wasn’t something the council wanted to do.

Councilman Curtis Segars said several people have raised objections to him on the issue. 

“We have a lot of citizens that are real concerned, and I’m one of them,” he said.

State law supersedes local law unless the law allows local governments to have tighter restrictions, Palmour said. Previously, city code prohibited people from having items such as shotguns, air rifles, bows and explosive substances in a park.

The ordinance amends city code to ban in parks all weapons except guns. Other weapons are still not allowed to be discharged or exploded on or over park property, but firearms can be discharged in certain conditions and situations, including self-defense, with a governmental permit or as part of a historical re-enactment.

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