Governor Bill Haslam signs ‘Guns in Parks Bill’

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. --If you've got a permit, soon you will be able to carry a gun into a park, and local law enforcement can't do anything about it.

Friday morning Governor Bill Haslam signed the bill into law but only after the part of the bill that allowed permit toters to carry a gun into the capital was taken out.

"The bill in its final form is a vast improvement from where it started," said Haslam.

Getting the governor to sign the 'Guns in Parks Bill' didn't happen overnight.

This battle has been going on for months.

On Friday, Haslam admitted there was still a lot that needs to be worked out.

"If you're responsible for implementing that on the ground, there's still a lot of things you're going to have to see how that works out in real life," he said.

One of the concerns was guns around schools and school events.

The law reads a person with a handgun permit may not be within the immediate vicinity of a school event at a park.

The burden now falls on local governments for monitoring gun toters which can be tricky.

"I'm going to urge the legislature a year from now to relook at that and see what practical impact has been on our local governments," explained Haslam.

Mayor A C Wharton said he was disappointed the Governor signed the bill.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a shooting in busy Tom Lee Park that sent three people to the hospital.

Wharton asked, how do you operationalize it?

He said once a shooting happens blame will fall on the police department, which he said was not right.

"They're going to say you're officer saw that man come in here with that automatic gun yet your officer didn't really watch him. Ok, now listen to this, if my officer watches him and he happens to be a black guy, guess what my officer just did? Profiled him," said Wharton.

The law allowed parks with signs that said guns are banned to keep them up although permit holders will be allowed to bring them in.

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