Carrying guns now OK in county parks

Code amended so Clark County aligns with state law

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

 

Clark County commissioners amended a code Tuesday to make it legal to carry guns in parks.

It remains illegal to discharge a weapon, except under specific circumstances, such as in self-defense.

The county code regarding guns in parks now aligns with state law, which says people may openly carry firearms in a nonthreatening manner.

Last summer, Vancouver resident Joe Winton, a member of a national gun advocacy group, went before the commissioners to ask that the code be updated.

The county code pre-dated the state’s open-carry law.

Nobody testified Tuesday before the commissioners voted to update the code.

Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Horne told commissioners they will still be able to prohibit weapons at county-owned facilities, specifically the Sleep Country Amphitheater.

Winton also went before the Vancouver City Council last year, and city park signs have been updated to reflect state law.

Signs in county parks will not have to be changed because they list firearms only as an item referenced in county code and don’t specify that they are prohibited, Horne said.

While pistols, shotguns and rifles are now OK to bring into parks, that doesn’t mean anything goes.

It remains illegal to possess the following items: a bow and arrow, crossbow, slingshot, spring- or gas-propelled BB and pellet guns, spears or javelins “or any other weapon, except in designated target range areas,” according to Clark County Code 9.04.

Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke asked if lawn darts are illegal.

Horne said lawn darts are not in the code.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1988 did ban the sale of all lawn darts after the pointed metal darts were responsible for the deaths of three children.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.