It’s refreshing to see members of the state House of Representatives show restraint and common sense in dealing with end-of-the-session gun issues. Lawmakers are wrapping up their work this week, and in doing so they have taken up a number of bills that were placed behind passage of the state budget.
One was legislation to revoke the power of cities and towns to prohibit firearms inside municipal parks. That measure would have voided the responsible action taken by cities that have wisely said “no” to guns in parks.
In 2009, Johnson City was among more than 70 local governments to opt out of a state law allowing Tennesseans with a state handgun carry permit to tote their weapons inside a state or local park. On Tuesday, a bill (that was passed in Senate) to revoke such local gun bans failed in a House subcommittee.
Gov. Bill Haslam, who was mayor of Knoxville when that city banned firearms inside its parks, was opposed to the bill.
Another bill that would have allowed Tennesseans to openly carry firearms without a state permit also was voted down in the state House Finance Subcommittee earlier this week. The added cost to rewrite state permits was given as the reason for the action. Good sense also played a part in the bill’s defeat.
We agree with state Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester, who said he saw “no compelling reason” to pass the open carry bill.
Nonetheless, we expect to see both the open carry and “guns in city parks” bills reintroduced in the next session of the General Assembly. When that happens we hope lawmakers will continue to exercise common sense and restraint.