Congratulations to the people of Conway for making their voices heard and defeating the proposed illegal gun ban. Last night, their city council overwhelmingly rejected a new ordinance that would have prohibited lawful gun owners from carrying in city parks, in violation of state law.
In fact, not only did Conway drop the new regulations, they repealed a 1971 ordinance that prohibited firearms in city parks, that had been in violation of state law–quite a turnaround!
Steve Jones, chairman of Arkansas Carry, said the response to the proposal from the community was strong:
My take from the meeting? I saw a great response from the citizens of Conway when they realized the council was attempting to pass gun ordinances. These people took time from their busy day to push back against this assault on the Second Amendment. I also saw two strong supporters on the city council in Theodore Jones and Mark Vaught; they took the lead and showed the rest of the members how they should vote.
Chairman Jones said it was Alderman Jones who pushed the council to repeal the 1971 ordinance and rely fully on state statutes for gun regulation, as state law requires.
Jones said that the result of the meeting was not completely positive, however, citing concerns that mayor Tab Townsell was misleading in some of his comments and that the city may still try to subvert state law:
When the mayor read what he called ‘state law’, he said incorrectly said cities could post signs and ban guns in that manner. Before he stated this, he prefaced his remarks that what he was reading followed state law ‘word for word’. After he read his statement, he again said that what he was reading followed state law word for word. Not only was he misleading the council members and the audience, these statements can be taken that Conway may ‘in the middle of the night’ post signs at Conway public parks.
There is plenty of credit to go around for this conservative victory: the Faulkner County TEA Party mobilized concerned citizens, as did Arkansas Carry, our state’s staunchest defender of 2nd Amendment rights. Little Rock’s conservative talk show host Dave Elswick sounded the alarm on his show on Tuesday, reading my story on air to let citizens know about the legal ramifications of the proposal. And of course Alderman Mark Vaught led the charge on the Conway city council, raising important questions and standing his ground.
This entire saga should serve as an important lesson to voters and politicians around the state: just as we learned in Russellville, concealed carry permit holders know their rights and they will stand up to defend them (Chairman Jones said over half of the attendees at last night’s meeting were CCL holders, as evidenced by a show of hands at the request of an alderman). But in addition, conservatives should feel a sense of hope after this victory. Look what we can do when we work together. See what an impact a few voices can make? Take heart, my friends–we have much work to do, but we are making a difference.