Williamston mayor removes “No Weapons Allowed” signs from town parks

WILLIAMSTON, SC – Several weeks after a Williamston town councilman began drafting an ordinance that would allow guns on town property, the town’s Mayor ordered all “No Weapons Allowed” signs to be removed.

Councilman Rockey Burgess said the signs should have never been placed in public parks in the first place, stating the town council had no right to prevent lawful CWP holders from bringing their weapons to those particular areas.

In November, he told 7 News that if the council did not vote to remove them, he would sue the town.

“He had the signs taken down on his own, which pretty much negated any reason for me to continue with that ordinance,” Burgess said of the Mayor on Tuesday.  “We can’t go above and beyond what state law has already restricted.”

According to Mayor Mack Durham, the signs had been posted around town parks for years.

After consulting with town attorney, Lee Cole, Durham said legally they could not be posted.

“I just called the public works director and we got all of the clutter of signs down in the park,” said Durham.

The controversy began in November when concerns arose over safety.

Williamston mayor removes “No Weapons Allowed” signs from town parks

Williamston’s Police Chief told 7 News in an interview that he was worried about negligent discharges around children.

Chief Tony Taylor also explained that in an active shooter situation, having several armed pedestrians in a public setting would make it harder for officers to establish who “the bad guy” is.

The Williamston school district also had reservations about allowing guns on town property, according to Mayor Durham.

When 7 News asked both Burgess and Durham about how the signs were put up in the first place, neither said they knew.

Mayor Durham expressed his belief that a former Mayor put them up and paid for the signs using taxpayer funds.

He added that perhaps the signs were not illegal back then.

“I think the law has changed several times over the years.”