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Haslam: Tenn. will be part of national gun debate

3:09 PM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
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By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II / Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam says he expects the Connecticut elementary school massacre to stir new debate in Tennessee about gun laws, as well as better ways to help those with a mental illness.

The Republican governor spoke to reporters on Monday, a few days after 20 children and six adults were slain by a gunman packing a high-powered rifle.

Haslam says he doesn't know if there will be any changes to gun laws in Tennessee, but he does expect heavier debate on a contentious measure that would give employees the right to store weapons in vehicles parked at work.

He also anticipates discussion about increased funding for the state's mental health programs.

At least one law enforcement official has said the 20-year-old Connecticut gunman had been diagnosed with Asperger's, a mild form of autism often characterized by social awkwardness.

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