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TN moves to allow guns in public buildings

By News Sentinel staff
April 18, 2007

NASHVILLE — In a surprise move, a House panel voted today to repeal a state law that forbids the carrying of handguns on property and buildings owned by state, county and city governments — including parks and playgrounds.

"I think the recent Virginia disaster — or catastrophe or nightmare or whatever you want to call it — has woken up a lot of people to the need for having guns available to law-abiding citizens," said Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. "I hope that is what this vote reflects."

Read the full story in Thursday’s News Sentinel.
 

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That is awesome!

Would that cover their general assembly building too?
 

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I'm looking to get my masters degree in Tenn. starting in Aug.
Will this allow carrying at Universities?
My understanding at this point is… I can’t.
 

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"In Tennessee, 172,828 people held legal permits as of January, according to Mike Browning, spokesman for the state Department of Safety, which issues the licenses."

That is about 3% of their population.
 

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GAGunOwner said:
Todd said, however, that he has been approached by another legislator about a push to allow handguns on college campuses though "I don't know if this is the proper time to do that" in light of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Tom Humphrey may be reached at 615-242-7782.
That's why you should

Crap! Stink! $#!^
 

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Todd said, however, that he has been approached by another legislator about a push to allow handguns on college campuses though "I don't know if this is the proper time to do that" in light of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Gee, maybe it will be the proper time after another massacre.
 

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http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/local_news/ ... 28,00.html

Interest in handgun carry permits up
Proposal to expand areas where weapons allowed set for vote next week

By JIM BALLOCH, [email protected]
May 1, 2007


College campuses won't be added to a proposal to allow Tennesseans to carry handguns in public parks and recreation areas - at least not yet.
"That issue (of guns on campus) is covered by an entirely separate section of the law," said state Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, sponsor of the legislation expanding areas where guns can be carried.

"But I do think it's something that we maybe ought to consider looking at next year. There has been some talk about doing that. What happened at Virginia Tech is an example of what can happen if there's nobody there to stop it."

Interest in self-defense has boosted inquiries about handgun carry permits in Knoxville, firearms instructors say, although Virginia Tech wasn't the main impetus.

"The carjacking really kicked it off," said Sgt. Mike Lett of the Knox County Sheriff's Office, referring to the January torture and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Lett teaches the required course for handgun carry applicants at the sheriff's training facility.

"That was such a horrific incident. We've had some cases of men who already had carry permits bringing their wives to take the course."

Niceley introduced his bill, which is scheduled for a committee vote next week, because of rapes in state parks. The Virginia Tech massacre came after the deadline for introducing new legislation.

Rep. Rob Briley, D-Nashville, amended it to allow permit holders to carry guns in any public park, playground or civic center operated by state or local government.

"I think he was trying to put a poison pill in the bill to kill it, but I think the votes are there to bring it out of committee as he amended it," Niceley said. Briley did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

"What makes Tennessee more restrictive (in its carry laws) than many other states is the parks ban, the private schools ban and the absolute and universal nature of the higher education ban," said David Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute in Golden, Colo., and co-author of the law school textbook "Gun Control and Gun Rights," published by New York University Press.

"Most other states (with handgun carry permits) let picnickers and joggers protect themselves," Kopel said.

State Department of Safety officials say few of the more than 172,000 Tennesseans who have handgun carry permits run afoul of the law. One exception occurred last year in a public park in Dandridge, as a youth baseball game was breaking up.

Samuel L. Noe shot three of his former in-laws, killing two and wounding a third, and was himself fatally shot during a struggle over his gun. Noe had a handgun carry permit. So did two of the people he shot, but they were unarmed, according to the police investigation.

Kopel isn't surprised that interest in handgun permits jumped more after the double homicide in Knoxville than after the Virginia Tech massacre.

"People at risk of a Virginia Tech-style attack are prohibited from defensive guns," he said. "People at risk of a carjacking are allowed to possess defensive arms, so many of them take the rational step of acquiring one."

Trevor Putnam, vice president of Coal Creek Armory, agreed.

"After the carjacking, we went from scheduling our classes a week ahead of time to a month and a half ahead of time," Putnam said. "I think that one hit just a little closer to home."

Said Jerry Huffman, who teaches the gun carry course at Pellissippi State Technical Community College: "Our classes increased right after the carjacking. Our February and March classes were very large, and the April tapered back to the average level."

In other state gun legislation matters, a coalition of state law enforcement officers and prosecutors traveled to Nashville on Monday to endorse a proposal that would stiffen the penalties for anyone who uses or even possesses a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Jim Balloch may be reached at ________.

Copyright 2007, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!
 

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Massacre propels bill to OK guns in parks

Cindy Mayes, of Nashville, fires a gun at Gun City USA in Nashville Friday. Asked whether guns should be allowed at state parks, she said, "No, no, no, no, no." SANFORD MYERS / THE TENNESSEAN
By SHEILA WISSNER
Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, 05/08/07
Tennesseans who have handgun permits could carry their weapons into state parks legally under a bill on the move in the legislature, and its chances of passing are greater in light of the Virginia Tech massacre, one of its sponsors said.

The proposal to allow permit holders to go armed in state-run parks was introduced well before the slayings of 32 people on the university campus last month.

But Senate sponsor Tim Burchett thinks the killings may have "created a positive atmosphere" for changing the law this year. And House sponsor Frank Niceley said he may push next year to allow college students and teachers with permits to carry handguns on campuses.

With a key vote slated this week, their bill is coming to the fore at a time of renewed national debate over gun control in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech killings. North Carolina's legislature is considering a proposal to ban guns from public parks.

For Glenn Scarborough, the Virginia Tech tragedy is just one more reason he should be allowed to carry a handgun in a state park.

"I really feel if any of those students or professors had handguns on them, they could have stopped a lot of people from dying," said Scarborough, a former grounds manager at a condominium complex.

He is among many Tennesseans who are glad to see that the proposal is on the move on Capitol Hill. And many police officers probably agree, said Johnny Crumby, lobbyist for the state Fraternal Order of Police, an organization of rank-and-file police officers.

Others are less enthusiastic.

"I'm not anti-gun,'' said Cindy Mayes, who spent Friday afternoon target practicing at the Gun City USA indoor range on Murfreesboro Pike.

But guns in public parks? "No, no, no, no, no,'' she said.

Also opposing the bill are the head of the agency that runs state parks, and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.

Amendment widens bill

Niceley's original proposal would allow guns only in state-run parks, not city parks. He says it would make them safer.

"People are realizing now that it's not these people with carry permits causing problems. It's these crazies that are causing problems,'' he said.

His bill was amended in a House subcommittee to go even further, allowing permit holders to take their firearms to other public places such as city parks, playgrounds and civic centers. But that amendment could be stripped from the bill.

Niceley said he might introduce an amendment to restrict handgun purchases to U.S. citizens. Such measures, including legalizing guns on college campuses, may have prevented the slaughter of Virginia Tech students and staff at the hands of a mentally troubled man who was not a U.S. citizen, he said.

Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, said he didn't think the Virginia Tech slayings would improve the bill's chances, but Burchett and state Sen. Mae Beavers, the Mt. Juliet Republican who is chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, disagreed with him. Beavers said the measure has a good chance of passing in the Senate.

Permit holders speak out

Some say guns heighten the chance of violence.

More than two dozen Tennesseans with carry permits who contacted The Tennessean over the past week don't share that view, saying they have stellar records for acting responsibly and have been properly trained in handling their weapons. All permit holders must take handgun training.

An analysis by the newspaper of the state's records on carry permit holders shows that less than half a percent of them have had their permits yanked for criminal behavior or other infractions.

Scarborough said he has seen young men brandishing weapons at state parks and was robbed at an ATM years ago. He said he would feel safer if he could bring his firearm along to parks for protection.

Mayes, a warehouse worker, said that she believes people have the right to own guns to protect themselves in their homes and cars, and that she might buy one herself. She has been the victim of a would-be purse snatcher in Nashville and a neighbor who broke into her basement. But she remains leery of guns in public places.

"Just because people have a permit to carry a gun doesn't always mean they are going to use it responsibly,'' she said.

Rana Douglas, a Shelbyville mother of three teen sons, said, "I believe we have the right to bear arms and to protect ourselves, but I don't think you should be toting a gun around."

Published: Tuesday, 05/08/07

Handguns
Should Tennesseans with handgun permits be allowed to carry weapons in public parks and on playgrounds?

88.7%
Yes
11.3%
No

Total Votes: 1136
 

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Guns in Parks Bill Moves Forward
By SHEILA WISSNER
Staff Writer

A bill that would allow anyone with a handgun carry permit to take it into any public recreational area in the state - including parks, playgrounds, civic centers and zoos - has passed a key vote this morning.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill by a 6-4 vote.

The original bill only would have allowed guns in state parks, but the bill as amended broadens that to any recreational area operated by a state or local government. A second amendment would require governments to post the new rules.

The bill does not cover schools or college campuses, which will remain off limits to handguns.

It now goes to the calendar committee, where it will be scheduled for a full vote in the House.
 
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