NASHVILLE —Gov. Bill Haslam said today he doesn’t see a “big need to change” Tennessee guns laws and expects the debate to play out largely on the national level in the aftermath of last week’s shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
However, Haslam, a Republican, said the deaths of 20 children and eight adults in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings could affect Tennessee’s long-standing debate over requiring employers to allow workers to keep guns in their locked vehicles parked on employer parking lots.
“To me, I don’t know that I see a big need to change things” in terms of state legislation like a ban on assault weapons, Haslam told reporters.
With regard to the so-called guns-in-parking lots bill, which has been debated in the legislature for two years, Haslam said he continues to think schools, colleges and universities should be able to bar people from storing weapons in their vehicles.
The governor said he is interested in reviewing mental health services provided by the state.
“I don’t know a lot of legislation that I’ve seen would have stopped what happened there,” Haslam said of the Connecticut deaths. “I think we’ll have a national discussion. I think it will be part of how we talk about that [parking lot] bill in Tennessee.”
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, ...