by Anayeli Ruiz
ODESSA - Think about this, what if you could carry a weapon into a city park, like a gun. A place where kids play and family's picnic. In Odessa, it's perfectly legal but not for long.
"We investigated in our own ordinances to see how we were protected in our park system and come to find out there was no ordinance that prevented the carrying of certain weapons onto our parks," Steve Patton, Director of Parks and Recreation in Odessa, said.
So that's when the Parks and Recreation Department did some research. They decided to come up with a city ordinance that would ban certain weapons in any city owned park, playground or the golf course.
"Weapons law is subject to the Texas Penal Code in the definition of a weapon. They could not carry any type of weapon on to the park, archery, BB guns, those items that are listed in Texas," Patton said.
The City of Odessa asked their West Texas neighbors if they had a similar ordinance. But it turns out Odessa was not alone. A lot of cities in the Permian Basin don't have a ban for weapons in their parks.
"Were going to be the leader in West Texas as far as getting that into place," Patton said.
If the proposed ordinance passes, police will be able to take action if they see someone carrying a weapon at a park.
"Those that have the license to conceal weapons, they can still carry a weapon on them into a park," Patton said.
Even though weapons in parks have not been an issue, they just want to make sure it doesn't become one.
"We have not had any problems thus far. Hopefully it will be a situation that we are taking a proactive approach," Patton said.
So now the city hopes that this proposed ordinance will only help make their parks safer.
"Just one more step that we are trying to take to make sure we ensure the safety of our public in our park system," Patton said.
It will take one more reading for the city ordinance to go in to effect. They are hopeful that it will go in to effect in the coming months.