Well, can you carry a gun into a park used by a school or not? And how do you define “use”? And what kind of park? Here to muddy the waters is our favorite Republican gun nut, Glen Casada!
In that now-infamous Republican press conference which has yielded much hilarity (thinking the House Republicans won’t be doing many more of these, what about you?), Casada didn’t understand why everyone is so confused about the school exception rule in the new law. Except it seems Casada’s understanding of the exception is wrong. Either that, or he’s lying:
Here’s how Casada understands the bill. People with permits can take their guns to a park, unless that park is used by a school. Describing a section of existing state law that deals with guns and schools, he specifically referenced Grassland Park, a park in Williamson County near two schools.
“But the law’s real clear: It doesn’t say ‘when,’ it says ‘if’ which in a court of law is very clear. So in this case, because Grassland has school functions there, there could not be a permit holder taking a gun on Grassland Park.”
“At any time?” a reporter asked.
“At any time,” Casada responded.
But Casada’s understanding of the law is wrong, at least according to former Attorney General Robert Cooper, Jr.
Cooper issued two official opinions — one expressly in response to a question from Casada in 2009 — where he said the law only prevents permit holders from carrying their guns in areas of a park where a school event is currently underway.
“Reading (the law) indicates that the legislature intended to allow handgun carry permit holders to carry their firearms into public parks except onto athletic fields and into other recreation areas at times when they are actually being used by schools,” Cooper wrote in 2009 and 2014.
So Glen “gun accidents are acts of God/guns are just like bicycles” Casada asked the former AG and was specifically told that the school exception applied only when a school was actively using a park. And now he trots his little self in front of the media at a press conference and says something completely the opposite.
Lying, stupid or both?
Under Casada’s new definition of the school exception, if a school uses a park even once a year, that means no guns are allowed, ever:
Casada: But the law is real clear, it doesn’t say when, it says if. And current law is very clear. And so, in this case, because Grassland has school functions there, there cannot be a permit holder taking a gun on Grassland Park. Period, at any time.
Reporter: So, you’re saying that, for example, so if a Nashville school had an event one time a year at a park, that there would never be allowed to have any permitted guns at that park?
Casada: I’m not a judge, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer. But if you look at the law, it says ‘if.’ If it said any other word, your point is valid, but it says ‘if a school,’ blah, blah, blah, blah. No.
Reporter: If the whole motivation of the law was to avoid confusion for permit holders who said they don’t know which parks they’re allowed to go in or not, how would that make it more clear for permit holders if they don’t know that once a year there’s the sack race by the elementary school?
Casada: I would only submit that those who want it to be confusion say it’s confusing. I think the average public, good gracious, if Glen Casada can understand this, surely the good public can.
Shorter Glen Casada: “BECAUSE SHUT UP, THAT’S WHY!”
Seriously. This strikes me as completely stupid. I mean, think about it. With all the school groups coming out to Legislative Plaza, that right there bans guns from the State Capitol under Casada’s new understanding of the law. I know high school cross country teams use the Warner Parks for track meets and other events — heck, there’s an environmental ed center at Edwin Warner and I always see school buses there. There’s also a private school right next to Edwin Warner, and I believe they use the park, too. So no guns allowed there. Ever. And gun permit holders like our friend from Wisconsin are expected to just know that. Because shut up, that’s why.
Trying to think of any park in the state that has never at any time not been used by a school group. So Glen Casada has basically told us that this guns in parks bill is completely meaningless because as a practical matter, you can’t take a gun into a park. Ever. School groups, etc.
Suck on that, Radnor Lake Rambo. I see school buses at Radnor all the dang time. Bwaaaahaa.