TN Firearms Association opposes 'guns in parking lots' bill

6:29 PM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
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Allowing guns in parking lots is a controversial topic that Tennessee lawmakers are debating. Senate Bill 142 (SB142) has made its way pass the state Senate and is now heading to the House.

The Safe Commute Act as written would "allow a person with a valid handgun carry permit to transport and store a firearm or ammunition in the permit holder's privately-owned motor vehicle in public or private parking area under certain condition".

The Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) is opposed to the bill because the organization argues the measure doesn't go far enough to protect employees.

TFA member Liston Matthews said, "This bill as written would allow that, but yet if an employer decides they want to fire someone for having it in the car then what good has the bill done."

While lawmakers are feeling pressure to change the current proposal, Knoxville Democrat Gloria Johnson said the bill goes far enough.

"I think that the business community in our state doesn't want government dictating what they can and can't do on private property. People don't want these guns on their private property, especially colleges. Colleges are opposed to this and they don't want more guns on campuses," Representative Johnson said in a phone interview.

"It doesn't say anything about you can take your firearm into the place of employment. It's not trying to allow for that. All it's saying is you can take it into your car and keep it in your car locked up and then you have it with you on the commute. You called me to make an appointment. The criminal does not call ahead. They just meet you wherever it suits them the best," said Matthews.

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is named as one of the sponsors of SB142. One of his staff members told WBIR it's hard for the proposed bill to protect employees because Tennessee is an at-will state, meaning an employer can fire an employee with or without cause.

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