Supervisors: No guns allowed in Adams County parks

Published 2:31 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

NATCHEZ — Some Adams County supervisors expressed displeasure with plans a Texas-based gun group has to hold an event on June 19 at a county park.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten discussed with supervisors his meeting on Monday with Nick Bezzel, founder of the Elmer Geronimo Pratt Gun Club, which plans to bring members of his gun club and others to Natchez on Friday, June 17, for a town hall meeting, as well as Sunday, June 19, for a commemoration at the Devil’s Punch Bowl area of Cemetery Road at 10 a.m., followed by a party with food and activities for children at Broadmoor Park at 2 p.m.

The gun club groups will also hold events on Friday in Brookhaven and on Saturday in Jackson.

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Supervisor Ricky Gray objected to anyone bringing firearms into the county park. He said guns are prohibited in the county’s parks.

“They are coming here in peace. I don’t have a problem with that,” Gray said. “But they are going to our parks and all our kids are out there. Then, when they leave, our kids will think it is OK to go to that park and bring their guns. That’s not the message you send into a neighborhood, that it’s OK to bring your guns to the park.”

Supervisor Angela Hutchins said guns are not allowed on county government properties.

“We have that in place already,” Hutchins said.

However, Supervisor Warren Gaines said the state’s open-carry law does not allow the county to prohibit guns.

County attorney Scott Slover agreed. He said the legislature has passed open carry laws that prohibit governments from interfering with second amendment gun carry rights. However, after researching the issue, he said one of the exceptions is a county park.

“County parks are an exception to the open carry laws,” Slover said.

Gray made a motion to reiterate that no firearms are allowed in any Adams County park. The motion passed with all voting yes except Supervisor Kevin Wilson, who voted nay.