Guns in Trunks Returns on Fast Track

Firearms are off limits in the buildings housing the offices of state lawmakers. Photo credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

Firearms are off limits in the buildings housing the offices of state lawmakers. Photo credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

One of the fiercest debates at the state capitol last year has been revived. Bills allowing gun owners to legally keep firearms in their car while at work have been filed and set to be fast-tracked.

Last year, Republican leaders and Governor Bill Haslam sided with big businesses like Volkswagen and FedEx who didn’t want guns kept in their parking lots.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he’s not preoccupied with allowing guns to be stored in cars. But he has filed legislation allowing a person with a valid handgun carry permit to do so.

“I want that done quickly so we can move on to these other issues that are here. It is not something that drives my thinking every day. That’s the reason I want it out of the way and move on.”

Firearms lobbyists say they were not consulted on the bill. They haven’t been on good terms with Republican leadership. The NRA and others were so perturbed at the GOP for blocking a so-called “guns in trunks” bill last year, they launched a successful campaign to unseat the third-ranking member in the House.

Rep. Sheila Butt of Columbia has also introduced legislation allowing a firearm to be stored in a vehicle. But it goes one step further, giving immunity to the property owner if anything bad happens as a result of having a gun on the premises.


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