published Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Guns-in-parking-lot bills to get summer study

Should workers be able to keep guns in their vehicles on public and private employers’ parking lots?

NASHVILLE — The Republican-controlled House Calendar and Rules Committee late this afternoon shipped two controversial guns-in-parking lot bills off to a summer study committee today during a sometimes raucous meeting.

In theory that kills the legislation, one of which strips employers’ ability to bar handgun-carry permit holders from storing their weapons in locked vehicles parked on companies and colleges parking lots.

But the sponsor of the bills, Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, said he is weighing “options” to resurrect the legislation, including an effort to try to suspend House rules and bring both measures directly to the chamber’s floor.

Meanwhile, National Rifle Association lobbyist Darren LaSorte said Republican leaders “know the bills are not dead.”

The second bill prevent employers from discriminating against gun owners in employment situations. That bill was sent off for summer study on a voice vote, prompting protests from Democrats, who angrily raised procedural issues.

The parking lots bill was sent to summer study on a 15-8 roll call vote. House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, and Government Operations Committee Chairman Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, both voted yes.

Most Democrats on the panel, who oppose the legislation but have been eager to push an issue that has Republicans caught between gun-rights advocates and businesses, voted no.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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