Uncertainty revolving around concealed carry legislation has led the Miami Township Trustees to remove signs banning weapons from parks.
Those signs, which previously threatened $100 fines for people caught carrying guns in the park, will now be removed to protect the township from the possibility of a legal challenge.
“The signs were removed because the board of trustees amended the park rules governing the ability of a person to not carry a weapon in the park,” said Miami Township Administrator David Duckworth. “Our law director advised the board that one of the options we had was to change the wording of the park rules.”
Concealed carry laws in Ohio allow for firearms to be banned from certain buildings, such as a courthouse, but allows for their presence on public grounds. Therefore, while the trustees would be in their rights placing the signs on the doors of the township hall, it is legally possible for individuals with conceal carry permits to carry guns on the township hall’s front lawn, or, in this case, a park. Buildings, however, are still protected, and the restrooms in Miami Township parks will be posted no guns.
“Those are considered public buildings, so they will be posted no weapons,” said Duckworth.
Duckworth said that the signs were originally posted out of fear that someone may be injured in the parks due to the discharge of a firearm. Duckworth said that, in his opinion, there is no difference where firearms are concerned between banning them from a park or a public school.
“It’s the fear that you have, not just for parks but public buildings as well,” said Duckworth. “It’s a public facility, and we felt that because we had a rule in place that we could put the signs up. A park, in my opinion, is no different from a public school or public building. We have been told that we need to make the change, and we’ll make the change.”
While residents may now legally carry guns, so long as they have received their concealed carry permit, it is still illegal to use them there. Duckworth said that the parks will still remained closed to any sort of hunting or shooting.
“That’s not changed, we still prohibit that,” said Duckworth. “This is strictly concealed carry, it doesn’t apply to hunting or target shooting.”
Duckworth, however, said that there is little the township can do to limit the discharge of firearms in other parts of the township. Complaints of guns being fired in subdivision back yards around the township are noted, but not acted on, as the act is not illegal, given that no gunfire crosses property lines.
“That is legal, we have no power as a township to create our own laws governing the use of firearms,” said Duckworth. “It’s my understanding is that it becomes an issue when the bullet leaves your property.”