Gun-rights advocates plan Tenn. GOP push

Nov. 28, 2011 at 1:39 PM
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NASHVILLE, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- GOP lawmakers will face voter wrath if they don't let people carry loaded handguns into school and workplace parking lots, Tennessee gun-rights lobbyists say.

The Republican-controlled Tennessee Legislature should also open all parks in the state to handguns and ideally make handgun permits optional, as they are in Arizona, Wyoming, Vermont and Alaska, the Tennessee Firearms Association and other gun-rights organizations say.

"Republicans fancy themselves as being strong on the Second Amendment, and a lot of them like to put that in their campaign literature," association Executive Director John Harris told The (Nashville) Tennessean. "They're going to have a credibility problem" if they don't loosen Tennessee gun laws.

The U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

Gun-rights advocates say the time is ripe for Tennessee to pass bills to require employers to let workers bring guns as far as their parking lots, open all public parks to handguns and make it easier for parents to carry guns while traveling to and from schools, The Tennessean said.

They also want lawmakers to clarify the rules on restoring gun rights to people previously convicted of non-violent felonies, the newspaper said.

But the most dramatic proposal, making the broadest change to Tennessee's gun laws in nearly 20 years, would create a law saying all Tennesseans can carry handguns in the state without a permit, and they would could get a permit to carry the guns in other states.

"If you are a legal, law-abiding citizen, you have a constitutional right to carry," Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville told the newspaper.

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