Lake of the Ozarks is a big man-made lake smack in the middle of Missouri. The Osage River was dammed up ca. 1930 to create a hydroelectric plant, and the resulting lake stretched across four counties and became a tourist attraction. I haven’t been there in a gazillion years, but when I was a young ‘un for summer vacation my family used to rent a cabin on the lake where there was fishing and swimming and boat riding. Happy memories.
There are also resort hotels with city slicker amenities like swimming pools, golf courses, restaurants, bars, and even some spas. It looks like there’s a fancy-schmancy luxury resort about where I think those old rental cabins used to be. And I’m sure there are still some cheap motels and cabins and plenty of places selling live bait and tackle. So the area draws tourists from all over the Midwest, and tourism is pretty much the whole economy there.
One of the communities depending on that tourism is Lake Ozarks, and Lake Ozarks has a problem with guns. Missouri is a gun-lovin’ state, mostly, and apparently the folks at Lake Ozarks decided that strangers walking around with rifles scared away the tourists.
The Lake Ozark, Missouri Board of Alderman voted last week to ban gun owners from openly carrying firearms, even if they have a concealed carry permit, because they were afraid that armed individuals would chase away tourists. â€œWeâ€™ve had a tough time over the years promoting Lake Ozark as a family area,â€ Alderman Larry Buschjost explained. â€œWe want you on the Strip with families, everywhere in Lake Ozark with families. We want you to bring your kids down here and let them loose. For the life of me, I donâ€™t understand why I would have to carry any type of gun, concealed or otherwise.â€
The ban was initiated by the local police chief, in part due to concerns raised by business owners.
Lake Ozarkâ€™s efforts to keep people with guns from scaring tourists and other patrons away from local businesses, however, may be short-lived. The Missouri state legislature recently passed a bill that will allow concealed carry permit holders to openly display their guns, regardless of local ordinances. The bill is currently awaiting Gov. Jay Nixonâ€™s (D) signature or veto.
So the people of Lake Ozarks may not get to decide for themselves what’s best for their community, because freedom. I wonder also how that ordinance is going to work in Saint Louis, which is kind of like an actual city, last time I looked. I just hope a bunch of second-amendment yahoos don’t take it upon themselves to vacation in Lake Ozarks and terrorize everyone.