NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With the upcoming National Rifle Association annual meeting being held in Nashville this spring, Tennessee lawmakers are hoping to better accommodate the group’s gun-carrying members.
Several bills have been filed in the House and Senate that, if passed, would allow gun carrying in parks and certain public buildings.
The NRA convention is being held at the Music City Center April 10 to 12, with as many as 90,000 gun owners attending.
Right now, municipal governments have the option to decide whether firearms are allowed in certain parks and public buildings.
State Representative Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) filed a bill that would take that option away in parks, nature trails, campgrounds, greenways and other public green spaces.
Other proposals could make it legal to carry firearms in certain public buildings, potentially including the Music City Center.
Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris says the ideas are nothing new, and have been proposed before. But the NRA convention is a good motivator to push a bill through the legislature.
The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, which represents local, state and federal law enforcement officers in the Nashville area, says their officers will enforce whatever laws are passed.
“If they pass the law, we will enforce whatever they decide,” said FOP President Danny Hale. “I feel if people have a permit, they should be able to carry anywhere. As long as they are not under the influence.”
News 2 spoke with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to hear their take on the bill.
A volunteer with the organization, Kathleen Chandler Wright, sent the following response:
“As a mother, my number one priority at the playground is my children’s safety and how much fun they’re having playing on the slides — not worrying about standing next to someone at the sandbox with a loaded gun. This misguided bill — which was already rejected last year by our state legislature — has no place in Tennessee; it would allow guns in our playgrounds and block our local officials from regulating guns anywhere in our parks. The preamble of this bill outlines an effort to change state laws regarding guns in parks and public places in all 95 counties just in time for the NRA convention to come to Nashville this spring. Who are our elected officials working for? They should stand up for the safety of our children, again, and reject this dangerous bill.”
Several bills will likely be lumped together and sent to the Tennessee House and Senate Judiciary Committees next month for consideration.