Posted: April 24, 2014
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. —
Parents at a Forysth County park abruptly stopped a children's baseball game after growing suspicions of the behavior of a man carrying a gun in a waist holster Tuesday night.
"He's just walking around [saying] 'See my gun? Look, I got a gun and there's nothing you can do about it.' He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing," said parent Karen Rabb.
Rabb told Channel 2’s Tom Regan the parents grew so alarmed that they brought the game to a halt when the man declined a request that he leave a parking lot overlooking the baseball field.
“He scared people to the point where we stopped the game, took the kids out of the dugout and behind the dugout, and kind of hunkered down,” Rabb said.
Park users flooded 911 with 22 calls about the man. Forysth County deputies questioned the man, and found that he had a permit for the handgun. Authorities said since the man made no verbal threats or gestures, they could neither arrest him nor ask him to leave the park.
Another parent questioned what point the man was trying to prove.
"Why would anyone be walking around a public park, with a lot of children and parents and people here playing baseball, and he's walking around with a gun? I don't think the parents would have been nervous had he just had the gun in his holster and was just watching the game," said parent Paris Horton.
Rabb's 6-year-old son Ethan was playing at the time and later expressed concern to his mother.
"When I was reading my son's story last night, he turned to me and said 'Mommy, did that man want to kill me?'" said Rabb.
The Forsyth County sheriff said he didn't believe the parents and children were in any danger and that parks are constantly patrolled. He said while the man was within his rights to carry the gun, his conduct was inappropriate.
"We support the constitutional right to bear arms. We will not tolerate bad behavior," said Forsyth Sheriff Duane Piper.
The director of Georgia Carry, a gun rights and lobbying organization, also questioned what the man was trying to do.
"There's a right and a wrong way to exercise your right. This is not the right way," said Georgia Carry Executive Director Jerry Henry.
Rabb said she, too, is a gun rights advocate.
"I own a gun. I have no problems with the Second Amendment. But they do not belong in a parking lot where we have children everywhere. If you want to make a statement, go to the Capitol," said Rabb.