Local News Articles

Compromise Bill Calls for Phase Down Reduction of Telephone Intrastate Access Charges

March 26, 2011
Dwayne Page
Les Greer

Rural telephone companies, including DTC Communications will be forced to reduce their intrastate access charges to AT&T and other larger carriers beginning April 1, 2012 under legislation making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly.

The bill on its way to passage is a compromise between the smaller and larger telecommunications companies. The original bill, which had the support of most state legislators, would have called for an immediate reduction in the access fees resulting in a loss of revenue to the rural carriers, including DTC Communications by hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly.

Under the compromise bill, rural telephone companies including DTC will be forced to reduce their intrastate access charges in a phase down over the next six years, starting April 1st, 2012 until the rate is just under two cents per minute, the same as the interstate access fees.

Les Greer, CEO of DTC Communications, told WJLE Friday that the local cooperative will still lose revenue under this legislation, but since it is a phased in reduction, DTC will have time to adjust. "The reason we wanted to leave things as they were is because we have a contractual arrangement between the large carriers and DTC. It was governed by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and the TRA set those rates. We (DTC) are charging all of those carriers the same rates and they have not changed since 1992. We didn't think the legislature ought to be setting retail rates between two commercial enterprises. Their (large carriers) argument was that the interstate rate is much lower than the intrastate and that they (rates) ought to all be the same. But there are some other components that help offset those lower revenue streams on the interstate rate that this bill does not take into account," said Greer.

"On the interstate rate, we (DTC) are currently charging just under two cents per minute. We charge just under four cents per minute for the intrastate rate. The bill proposes to take the intrastate rate down to the interstate rate. This will impact DTC Communications roughly about $115 to $120 thousand dollars a year for each year of the phase down and the phase down will start in April, 2012. This buys time for us to figure other revenue sources or other ways to increase revenues to offset that loss of revenues," said Greer.

"I would like to thank all the members of the cooperative and the business community (who supported us) on this bill with our legislators. I would especially also like to thank State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver for all the hard work they've done on our behalf. Unfortunately, we weren't as successful as we would have liked to be but I do appreciate their efforts and the efforts of the employees of DTC for speaking out on this issue," Greer concluded.

As amended, the legislation will reduce the disparity between intrastate and interstate access fees by a rate of 20 percent each year for five years beginning April 1, 2012 and each subsequent April 1.

When a customer places a telephone call, it generally travels over multiple networks, which are owned by different telephone companies, en route to its destination. To compensate owners for the use of their networks, telephone companies charge each other for calls that originate on each others networks. The carrier whose customer places the call pays a per-minute charge to the carrier whose customer receives the call. When the call is a long distance call, the charges are referred to as access charges.

There are two kinds of access charges. Calls that originate in one state and terminate in a different state are subject to interstate access charges. These calls are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are the same throughout the U.S. Calls that originate and terminate within the same state are subject to intrastate access charges and fluctuate throughout the state. It is the intrastate access charges that this bill addresses.

Senate Bill 598 establishes a requirement that all telephone companies in Tennessee charge other telephone companies the same rate for connecting calls into their network, whether the calls originate inside or outside the state. It establishes a defined transition period during which intrastate access rates will be brought down in equal steps to the same level as interstate access rates.

The bill also provides the ability for telephone companies to account for increases in interstate access rate changes, which are federally governed, and change their intrastate rates to mirror federal changes. In addition, it requires all telephone companies to file and maintain a tariff price list with the Tennessee Regulatory Authority setting their access rates and structures.

Fire Destroys Home on Hurricane Ridge Road

March 26, 2011
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Home of Larry Bain, Sr. at 650 Hurricane Ridge Road

A fire destroyed the home of Larry Bain, Sr. at 650 Hurricane Ridge Road Saturday morning.

Central dispatch received the call at 5:22 a.m.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said a neighbor spotted the blaze and called 911 but the fire was already well in progress by the time it was discovered. The blaze consumed the house and all of Bain's belongings inside the home.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to a shed behind the house, where shop and farm equipment were stored, although the structure did receive some minor heat damage.

Fire on Hurricane Ridge Road from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Members of the Main Station, Cookeville Highway, Blue Springs, and Short Mountain Highway stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker truck and equipment vehicle. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene.

No one was home at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

Chief Green said the cause of the fire is undetermined but it appeared to have started in the living room area.

14th Annual Relay for Life June 3rd

March 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Cancer Survivors from 2010 Relay for Life

The 14th annual Relay for Life in DeKalb County will be held starting Friday, June 3rd at Greenbrook Park, going all night until early Saturday morning, June 4th.

Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society's signature event, is a fun-filled overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer. At Relay, people from within the community gather to celebrate survivors, remember those lost to cancer, and to fight back against this disease. Relay participants help raise money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society in its lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a major health issue. During Relay For Life events, teams of people gather and take turns walking or running laps. The events are held overnight to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps. Through the survivors' lap and the luminaria ceremony, the people who have faced cancer first hand are honored, and those who have been lost to this disease are remembered.

But, Relay isn't about taking laps -- it's about coming together in the fight against cancer. It's a time to remember those lost to this disease and celebrate those who have survived. It's a place where people connect with others, share the cancer experience, and find comfort and solace. And it's an opportunity to build hope for a future where cancer no longer threatens the lives of the people we love.

As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations.

In 2010 in DeKalb County, the American Cancer Society provided 33 people with 92 patient services. Twenty five nights of lodging were also provided at the Nashville Hope Lodge along with gas for 155 trips to treatment through the Transportation Grant Program.

On June 3rd, the community will gather together as one group to help in the battle against cancer. At Greenbrook Park in Smithville, dozens of teams, volunteers, community leaders, and citizens will enjoy the annual Relay for Life event. Plans are to have lots of entertainment and food available that evening, starting at around 6:00 pm. Planning for the Relay is a year round event and the organizers hope that you will enjoy what they have in store for you. Relay is the largest community event held in DeKalb County. Please join in for this special night and have lots of fun helping raise money.

Corps to Conduct Periodic Test of Emergency Evacuation Siren at Long Branch Campground

March 25, 2011
Dwayne Page

The Corps of Engineers will be conducting a periodic test of an emergency evacuation siren at Long Branch Campground, located directly below Center Hill Dam, on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 10 a.m.

This siren serves the Long Branch and Buffalo Valley Recreation Areas immediately below the dam. Additionally, neighboring private landowners downstream of the dam may possibly hear the siren. The test will last for approximately one minute.

This is only a test.

In the unlikely event of a breach of the dam, the siren will be activated and an evacuation plan put into effect to assist the visiting public in the Long Branch and Buffalo Valley Recreation Areas. Anyone with questions should call the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager’s Office at 931-858-3125.

Storm Damage in Alexandria

March 23, 2011
Dwayne Page
Ominous storm clouds over Highway 53 in Alexandria

A severe thunderstorm which apparently spawned a tornado blew through Alexandria Wednesday evening causing some structure damage to a few homes and outbuildings.

Two buildings on the DeKalb County Fairgrounds known as Jennings Produce and Jennings Barber Shop were completely destroyed. Heavy damage was also inflicted on the Alexandria City Park and the Alexandria Lions Club Softball Field.

The Mahome community between Alexandria and Watertown was also hit hard with damage to homes and barns and numerous uprooted or blown down trees.

Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Alexandria, Caleb Roth also reported damage at homes on East Main Street just off the town square in Alexandria. "We were dispatched out to a power line down in the street on East Main Street around 6:30 p.m. We got there with one engine and a squad truck with several personnel. We found power lines down. It appeared to be maybe straight line winds or possibly a small tornado touched down. Approximately five to seven houses had some damage. Lots of roof metal pulled off, siding, and furniture all over the place. We found ten to fifteen trees down in the area and power lines in the road. We did several patrols around the town and that's about the most extensive damage we came up with. No one was hurt. We checked all the houses in this area and everybody was safe."

Tony Griffith, who resides at 119 East Main Street in Alexandria, said he was at a gas station near his home when he learned that DeKalb County was under a tornado warning and that the storm was approaching Alexandria. Griffith said he got in his pickup truck and headed for home. He was about 200 yards from his house when he saw the debris from the storm blowing across the street. "I was coming up the road from the gas station when I saw stuff twisting and blowing across the road on East Main Street. It was blowing my pickup truck too. You could feel the wind. When I got home I ran into the basement and made sure everybody was okay."

Griffith said the storm caused some minor damage to his home and destroyed a shed. Several of his neighbors also experienced damage to their homes although apparently no one was left homeless.

Smithville Water Treatment Plant Rehab Expected to be Completed Soon

March 22, 2011
Dwayne Page
W&O construction worker installing new high service pump at water plant

After more than three decades, the Smithville Water Treatment plant is getting a major overhaul and by the time the renovation is completed later this year, officials say the city will have a more state of the art facility which will continue to provide its customers with a clean, safe, reliable water supply for many years to come.

Work began last August by the W&O Construction Company of Livingston, who was awarded the construction bid in February 2010 by the board of aldermen at a cost of $2,542,000. The city has been awarded a $500,000 community development block grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to help fund the project. But the bulk of the funding, $2,342,000 is being appropriated from the city's water and sewer fund surplus.

The project at the water plant includes the installation of new high service pumps; new electrical breaker boxes, new storage tanks, new automated water filter control panel, new chlorinator, new liquid fluoride feeder system, the addition of a new standby generator, among many other renovations and improvements.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said the city does not have to borrow the money because there are sufficient funds in the city's water and sewer fund reserves to support the project.

During Monday night's city council meeting, Mayor Hendrixson said officials of W & O Construction met with city officials last week to provide a monthly update on the project. "Their schedule says they will be finished in April and supposedly they're on time. But then they said maybe some intake pumps may take longer. So we may be looking after April (before they're finished) but according to everything on schedule now, they have all the new filters in and they are working. They backwash every eight to ten days instead of every two days. That saves us a lot of water and it's also a lot easier to treat. They're doing a lot of the electrical work down there. They have one high service pump installed and were working on getting another one out to put a new one in there. Our main problem with the plant now and has been for the last three or four months is the intake. We've had to spend some extra money down there to keep the intake going. But if you don't get water out of the lake, you can't make it. So we're doing the best we can and we are keeping the water flowing. I think the water plant renovation is in good shape."

Hunter Hendrixson, City Secretary-Treasurer, told WJLE Tuesday that "to date, the City has spent $1,477,187 on the plant renovations using Smithville Water and Sewer Funds. The City has been reimbursed $246,030 of the $500,000 CDBG grant. The J.R. Wauford Engineering Company is overseeing the project."

The water treatment plant was originally constructed in 1966. The last major update to the facility was in 1978 when work was done at both the plant and the pumps at the intake on the lake.

Judge Patterson Hands Down Sentences in Criminal Court

March 22, 2011
Dwayne Page

Judge David Patterson sentenced several people in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday after they entered pleas in negotiated settlements with the prosecutors.

37 year old Anthony Wayne Cantrell pleaded guilty by information to reckless driving and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation except for six days of jail time. He was fined $350.

24 year old Justin Clyde Hale pleaded guilty to theft over $10,000 and received a three year sentence to serve. The case is to run concurrently with a Putnam County case against him. He must also make $100 restitution.

24 year old Johnny Murphy, Jr. pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to supervised probation. Murphy was fined $250 and must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the recommended treatment. He was given jail credit of six days.

25 year old Jordan Thomas Adams pleaded guilty by information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 90 days to serve with the balance on supervised probation. A second offense DUI charge against him will be dismissed. He must report to the jail on Monday, April 18th.

29 year old Michael Chad Owen pleaded guilty to three charges of aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence in each case, all suspended to community corrections. The cases are to run consecutively with each other for a total of nine years. He was given jail credit of approximately 13 months.

39 year old Pamela Jo Kelly pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 48 hours to serve with the balance on supervised probation. She will lose her license for one year and she must pay a fine of $365. The term is to run concurrently with a violation of probation sentence she is serving in Cumberland County. Her probation here will run concurrently with her probation in Cumberland County.

32 year old David Gaines pleaded guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine and received a two year sentence at 30% and then be on supervised probation by TDOC. He was given credit for time served from September 8th, 2010 to March 21st, 2011. Gaines was fined $2,000 and he must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and pay for any cleanup costs.

50 year old Nickey Cantrell pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacture, sale, and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a three year sentence on each count to run consecutively with a current sentence against him for a total of six years probation.

32 year old Michael S. Saylors pleaded guilty by information to possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale and received a three year sentence, suspended to supervised probation. He also pleaded by information to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine and received a two year sentence, suspended to supervised probation. He was released to time served.

24 year old Kenny W. Dyal, Jr. pleaded guilty to five charges of burglary. He faces an eight year sentence but a hearing will be held later to determine how the sentence is to be served.

34 year old Lynda M. Neville pleaded guilty in information to two counts of simple possession and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case, all suspended to CPS probation. The sentences in the simple possession cases are to run concurrently with each other but consecutively with the drug paraphernalia sentence for a total of two years.

31 year old Jeremy Edward Woodard pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving on a suspended license and received a sentence of five months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation for a period of six months. He will lose his license for a period of time

62 year old David R. Driver pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve 48 hours and then be on probation. He was fined $365. Driver will lose his license for a period of one year although he may apply for a restricted license. He must complete the Alcohol Safety Education Program and complete an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any recommended treatment.

52 year old Eddie Lynn Taylor pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to 45 days to serve. He will lose his license for two years and he must pay a fine of $615. Taylor must complete the DUI drug court program. After serving seventeen days, he will be furloughed into treatment.

53 year old William B. Seals, Jr. pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended except for 48 hours to serve. Seals will lose his license for one year but he may apply for a restricted license. He must pay a fine of $365 and complete the Alcohol Safety Education Program and an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any recommended treatment.

30 year old Christopher Sayle pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and simple possession. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to 48 hours to serve on the DUI offense and 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to CPS probation on the simple possession charge, but he'll be on unsupervised probation after six months if there are no further problems.. The two sentences are to run consecutively for a total of two years. Sayle must pay a fine of $615 and he will lose his license for one year but he may apply for a restricted license. As a condition of probation, Sayle must pay the balance of his probation fees in another case in the amount of $2,450.

54 year old Terry W. Kent pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation except for two days to serve. He was fined $365.

Three Liberty Area Residents Charged with Attempted First Degree Murder in Cannon County

March 22, 2011

Three people from Pea Ridge Road near Liberty are facing attempted first degree murder, aggravated arson, and especially aggravated robbery charges in Cannon County after allegedly trying to destroy a mobile home by fire with someone still inside last Wednesday, March 16th.

Mary V. Hill, James W. Hill, and Charlotte M. Hill, all of 4641 Pea Ridge Road Liberty were being held in the Cannon County Jail at last report under bonds of $2.5 million each.

The Cannon Courier reports on its website that the Hills were in the process of moving from the home of Lonnie Estes on Big Hill Road to 4641 Pea Ridge Road when an argument began over sheets and towels, according to Cannon County Sheriff's Department Investigator Anthony Young.

According to the report, "Mr. Estes said that James Hill hit him with his (Estes') walking cane," Investigator Young said. "It broke, then he (Hill) hit Estes with a chair, knocking him to the kitchen floor. Estes said James Hill then went outside, got a gallon milk jar of gasoline, came back inside and threw it on the kitchen floor and set it on fire."

Estes said the three Hills then left the residence, taking his wallet in the process.

The 68 year old Estes made it out of the house and called 911.

Investigator Young responded and rode in the ambulance with Estes to DeKalb Community Hospital to obtain a statement.

Estes was treated and released for a severe laceration to his head and also for multiple bruises to his face and body.

According to the Cannon Courier, the arson and bomb squad was called in to investigate the fire, which caused extensive damage to the kitchen and smoke damage throughout the residence.

Investigator Young said he then returned to the scene and obtained statements from friends and neighbors of Estes and they began searching for the Hills.

"We put out a BOLO and then initiated an area-wide search. They were found within 12 hours. After initially leaving the county, they returned to the residence on Pea Ridge Road and were apprehended there," Investigator Young said.

The Hills are scheduled to make their initial appearance in Cannon County General Sessions Court on June 6.

Sheriff's Department Issues Citations

March 21, 2011
Dwayne Page

In this week's crime report from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 36 year old Jonathan David Culwell of Allen's Chapel Road was issued a citation on Friday, March 18th for violation of the financial responsibility law. His court date is March 30th. He was involved in a two car accident and could not provide proof of insurance.

36 year old Autumn D. White of Chapman Hollow Road, Dowelltown was issued a citation on Friday, March 18th for simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Opana). Her court date is April 7th. Sheriff Ray said that on March 18th during a Department of Children Services home visit, a DCS worker found a schedule II controlled substance (Opana) in the hallway floor, believed to belong to Ms. White.

19 year old Travis Joe Davenport of Eagle Creek Road, Smithville was issued a citation on Friday, March 18th for violation of the financial responsibility law and violation of the child restraint law. His court date is April 13th. Davenport, who was traveling north on Mountain View Drive, was pulled over by a deputy. With Davenport was a three year old child sitting in the lap of a seventeen year old in the passenger seat. The child was not in a child restraint device and Davenport could not provide proof of insurance.

25 year old Eduardo Dimas Romo of Cecil Hale Road, Smithville was issued a citation on Sunday, March 20th for having no drivers license, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of the open container law, and for causing a roadway hazard. His court date is April 7th. Sheriff Ray said that Romo, who was operating a motor vehicle, stopped in the middle of the roadway on Cecil Hale Road causing a road hazard. Romo could not provide proof of insurance and he had an open 12 ounce can of beer in a cupholder within his reach. A computer check revealed that Romo had no drivers license.

DeKalb County Has Over 1400 Handgun Permit Holders

March 21, 2011
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

More DeKalb Countians are choosing to obtain a valid handgun carry permit.

According to the latest available records kept by the state, DeKalb County had a total of 1,462 handgun permit holders as of January 1st, 2011. That's up 141 from 1,321 on January 1st, 2010 and an increase of 422 since January 1st, 2009.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger, who is also an authorized state handgun permit class instructor, said a lot of people are obtaining a handgun carry permit to make them feel more safe and secure. "A lot of people are concerned about protecting themselves now, especially in their homes. A lot of people are also concerned about taking the training, learning how to operate a weapon and to be comfortable with it. We get a lot of people who want to take the class just for the safety aspect of it."

Caplinger said he has been teaching the class since his days with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. "I teach the state authorized handgun permit class for anyone interested in obtaining a Tennessee handgun permit. I started teaching these classes in 1996 and continued to teach during my career with the Tennessee Department of Safety. After I retired with the THP, I continued teaching the classes."

Handgun carry applicants must be at least 21 years of age and meet other conditions, according to Caplinger. "You cannot be a convicted felon. If you're being treated for any type of drug or alcohol abuse; if you're under any type of restraining order or other court order; or if you've been convicted of any type of spousal abuse, stalking, or sex crime it can and will keep you from getting a handgun carry permit. If you've had one DUI within five years or two DUI's within ten years it can keep you from getting your handgun permit. If you're being treated for any type of mental disorder or if you're under any type of mental treatment you're not allowed to apply for a handgun carry permit," said Caplinger.

In order to obtain a valid handgun carry permit, Caplinger said you must complete a training course. "The first thing you have to do if you're interested in obtaining a handgun carry permit in Tennessee is to attend one of the authorized classes at a school that is certified with the State of Tennessee Department of Safety handgun permit course. You can take up to an eight hour class, depending upon the instructor. Usually it's a one day class which starts with classroom training following a certain curriculum that the state requires to make everyone aware of where they can and can't carry the gun. The course then goes into the safety part on how to operate and carry the weapon. The class covers several different aspects. After the classroom part is completed, you go to the firing range and fire the weapon. After completing the course, you must apply for the Tennessee handgun permit. Just because you attend the school does not automatically grant you a permit. It only gives you the right to apply for the permit because you have had the mandatory training by taking the course," said Caplinger

"Once you successfully complete the course, you're given a certificate that you are to carry to any full service drivers license station in Tennessee. The ones closest to Smithville are in Cookeville, McMinnville, Lebanon, and Murfreesboro. You must present your handgun certificate, your certified birth certificate or valid passport and $115 before being able to make application for your permit. If your birth certificate is not certified, they will turn you down. You must present a certified birth certificate," said Caplinger.

If you don't have a copy of your birth certificate, Caplinger said you can obtain a copy at the health department. "You can go to your local health department and have a copy of your birth certificate printed. It will be certified. I think the charge is either seven or eight dollars. You can go on-line to the department of health in Nashville and order a copy of your birth certificate on-line with a credit or debit card or you can call the department of health by phone and use a debit or credit card and obtain it that way. It will be sent to you in the mail," said Caplinger.

Once you obtain your handgun carry permit, Caplinger said its valid for four years before renewal. "Some people get confused because their drivers license are valid for five years. They (drivers licenses) expire on your birthday. Your gun permit expires on the date it was issued, which might not necessarily be close to your birthday. You will receive a notice in the mail to renew your gun permit. You're never retested again. The only thing is you'll have to go through a background check. The Department of Safety issues the background check to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation."

"Your permit renewal application is sent out four months prior to it expiring, "said Caplinger. "Once the Department of Safety sends out that notice, they enter your name with the TBI and the TBI will start a background check Once the background check is completed, if there's nothing on your record to hold it up or any questions that arise, you will receive your notice in the mail. You can then send it into the state because it's already been approved. That's something new that the Department of Safety has started and its working. Two years ago if you renewed your handgun carry license, you were lucky to get it back within ninety days. Most people had to get an extension. Today, if a renewal goes through with no problems and everything is approved, you're probably going to get it back within twenty days even though the Department of Safety tells us to tell everyone it will be ninety days," said Caplinger.

Should you let your handgun carry permit expire, Caplinger said you have a six month grace period before having to retake the course. "If you wait beyond that six month grace period you have to go through that complete course and everything again. Once you get your permit for the first time and you keep it valid, your permit is good for four years. At the end of four years you never have to pay the $115 again but you have to pay $50 for the renewal fee every four years for the remainder of the time you keep the gun permit but you never have to go through the class again," said Caplinger.

While Tennessee does not have a concealed carry law, Caplinger said he urges his students to be cautious about displaying their handguns. "By law, if you obtain your handgun carry permit you are legally allowed to carry your weapon in public if you wish. Some do. Some don't. Instructors have different opinions. I do not recommend that anyone carry their handgun out in the open but it's still up to the individual who has the permit."

Caplinger adds that there are several places where a handgun is prohibited. "A good way to remember is that if you're in or on any city, county, state, or federal property, building, school, or at any type of judicial proceeding, carrying a handgun is off limits. You are also prohibited from carrying a handgun into a restaurant that sells alcohol or a bar if you're going to be drinking."

Many people opposed to handgun carry laws have expressed concerns about more people in public with weapons, but Caplinger said it hasn't been a problem here. "We don't have a problem with most people (with handgun carry permits) because they've had the training. They understand what they can and can't do. Most people understand that if a problem arises and they misuse that permit or that weapon, they can lose that permit just as easy as they got it. These people are good, everyday citizens that can pass the background checks. We've really had no problem with them. It was a concern when it started in 1996 (when handgun permits were first issued) but law enforcement understands that the people with these permits have had the training and know what should happen and what can happen, and how to handle a gun. It hasn't been a problem," concluded Caplinger.


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