Guns not allowed in parks during school events, AG says - WKRN News 2

Guns not allowed in parks during school events, AG says


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper issued an opinion Monday regarding the so-called "Guns in Parks" state law when it comes to those parks hosting school events.

In short, state law still prohibits the possession of firearms at a school activity or event, regardless of whether the city or county "opts out" of the new law or allows it to take effect.

In an opinion released Monday, Cooper says the state's new law to allow permit holders to bring their guns in parks does not prohibit schools from using those facilities but once they do, guns would be banned there.

He writes that non-student permit holders can store their guns in their cars while school-sponsored events are going on.

The opinion was requested by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin and also clears up any confusion over whether a school can use a park for an activity if that city or county accepts and becomes part of the "guns in parks" law.

Cooper states schools can use those city parks but when they do, firearms are not allowed, even if the city that owns the park becomes part of the new guns in parks law.

The opinion doesn't change how Alex Gould feels about the new state law.

The Franklin mom says she still doesn't understand why someone would think bringing a gun to a park is a good idea.

"My kids are much too young and we won't be in that situation but what do you do for the more innocent children, who aren't even aware these things are going on?" she asked.

Franklin City Councilman Dana McLendon says the opinion may make a difference for some who will make the decision whether to opt out of the law or not.

"With this opinion, I plan to vote not to opt out of at least some of our parks," he said.  "This attorney general's opinion, in my view, makes it clear that the city cannot opt in or out with respect to school events.  They're off limits, period, and they remain that way, no school event is where we have to make a choice."

Several Mid-State communities including Brentwood, Williamson County, Murfreesboro and Clarksville have already opted out of the new law, which goes into effect September 1.

The city of Columbia has chosen to allow guns in city parks.

Franklin City Council members will vote on whether to opt out of the state law Tuesday.

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