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Tennessee Gun Laws: Can Towns and Cities Make Local Rules?

Image: Tennessee Gun Laws: Can Towns and Cities Make Local Rules?
Tennessee Flag with gun and bullets, illustration. (wikimedia/commons; Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Sunday, 07 Dec 2014 09:32 AM

While Tennessee remains a gun-friendly state, some decisions regarding control over gun laws are left to local municipalities.

In 2009, the legislature made it legal for residents with a permit to bring concealed handguns in all public parks, but the law included an opt-out provision that allowed local municipalities to prohibit guns from local parks within their borders.

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About 70 cities and counties, including Nashville, Memphis, Germantown, and Shelby County, were among areas that kept gun bans in place in their parks and other recreation areas, according to The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal.

That option remained in place until this year, when two East Tennessee Republicans issued a challenge to the opt-out provision. Sen. Stacey Campfield and Rep. Tilman Goins introduced companion measures to the state Senate and House respectively, which sought to repeal the allowance for cities and counties to prohibit from prohibiting permit-holders from carrying guns in parks, campgrounds and similar public places.

The Tennessee Firearms Association had listed the parks bills among its top tier bills for support and has encouraged its members to express support to lawmakers.

Senate Bill 1496 passed in February on a 26-7 vote, according to The Tennessean.

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The results bothered representatives of the local districts that opted out in 2009.

"We oppose the bill, yes. We think that for lawful hunting in appropriate areas, gun possession makes perfect sense but as a general proposition, no we don't want any more guns than we've already got in our parks," Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little told The Commercial Appeal.

"We don't feel that the possession of personal firearms would significantly enhance public safety. We've got a great police force and a great sheriff down here and we're quite satisfied with their ever-improving efforts.

"We've got cameras and bike patrols, and the Sheriff's Department and police cruise the parks. At the city and county level, there's a pretty heavy law enforcement presence already."

However, in April, the Goins-sponsored House Bill 1407 was removed from the legislative calendar for this year, according to the website of the Tennessee General Assembly.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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While Tennessee remains a gun-friendly state, some decisions regarding control over gun laws are left to local municipalities.
tennessee, gun, laws, local, rules
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2014-32-07
Sunday, 07 Dec 2014 09:32 AM
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