Unexpected addition to Tennessee Senate guns in parks bill

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Senate has approved a bill allowing guns to be carried in local parks.

The measure was passed 26-7 Wednesday morning sending it one step closer to the governor’s desk.

Tennessee state law allows handguns to be carried in state parks unless prohibited by a local law.

The new amendment would nullify those laws.

Before the vote however, Democratic Senator Jeff Yarbo added an unexpected amendment to the bill.

The addition would allow permit holders to carry guns into the state capitol building.

Under Tennessee law,  guns are allowed in bars, on school property as long as it remains in a vehicle, and in city parks.

Gun advocates question why they can not be brought into the state capitol as well.

Yarbo’s amendment was passed 28-0.

The change to allow guns into the capitol is a distinct difference from the bill passed in the House on Monday 65-21.

That means the bill will now be sent back to the House where it initially faced opposition.

Safety was the number one priority for both sides.

“They obviously haven’t been to a Little League baseball game when the ump calls against their child,” said Representative  Bill Beck, an opponent of the bill. “These people go crazy.”

Republican Mike Harrison told WTVF said he voted for the bill because of his voters.

“After talking to especially some females in my district, they feel safer, especially going to some natural trails in parks, if they have a weapon, ” Harrison said. “And that was the overriding factor for me.”

Governor Bill Haslam has said he does not support the plan, which means, if it does reach his desk, he very well could veto it.

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