Leaders urge lawmakers to reject guns in parking lot bill - WKRN News 2

Business leaders urge lawmakers to reject guns in parking lot bill

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Tennessee lawmakers are about to take aim on another gun bill on Capitol Hill, this time concerning guns in parking lots.

Second amendment advocates say the bill, SB 3002, is about their right of self-defense, but most people can agree it's a conflict of property rights, gun rights and personal safety.

The bill would allow drivers to carry a permitted weapon into employer or public parking lots if the firearm is stored out of sight in a locked vehicle.

"It's very simple.  You need to be able to defend yourself, protect yourself going to and from work," said Sen. Mike Faulk, the bill sponsor.

Many business leaders believe the bill is a bad idea.

"We feel that employers have the right to set the rules on their property and those rules should include the right to restrict employees bringing their guns on company property," said Bill Ozier,  chairman of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The controversial issue drew a broad range of opponents to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday. Business leaders from hospitals to private universities came to share their fears about the bill.

"When people's jobs are at stake, they get very emotional or you have love triangles that happen among the employers. If all they've got to fight with is their hands and maybe a stick they find or a pocket knife, no one gets hurt to seriously. But if they have easy access to a gun, the risk is a lot higher,"

So what are the chances that Tennesseans may be able to carry weapons in parking lots?

Governor Bill Haslam, recently said, "We felt like it was overly broad in terms that it covered all parking lots whether it was at a school or other things."

That means the parking lot gun bill may get moderated, but firearms advocates are locked and loaded for a fight.

"Your car is an item of property that you have the same property rights in as the guy who owns the real estate," said Harris.

A second gun bill, SB 2992, is a companion to the parking lot measure.

Advocates say it would prevent discrimination against gun permit holders by employers.

The bills were rolled Tuesday.  They are scheduled to be discussed again next week.

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