NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Council members are being bombarded with phone calls and emails from Second Amendment supporters.
They don't want Metro Nashville to join the trend of large cities and counties that are”opting out” of the state's new law allowing handgun permit holders to carry their weapons in local parks.
Metro Council At-Large member Jerry Maynard said he's received close to 100 emails on the topic.
He supports the opt out clause of the new state law, but says groups like the National Rifle Association are lobbying hard to let the law go into effect September 1.
“Clearly the NRA is trying to do away with those laws that prohibit guns in parks and guns in bars, and the next thing you know, we'll have guns in schools,” said Maynard.
He says he also received plenty of emails in support of the “opt out clause.”
With big counties like Williamson and Shelby opting out of allowing guns in parks, the councilman sees gun rights groups loading up for Nashville.
“But would it not be a good feather in their cap, the NRA cap, if the capitol of Tennessee decided not to opt out of guns in our parks?” councilman Maynard said.
Tennessee Firearms Association president and National Rifle Association member John Harris makes no apologies for what he calls “grassroots lobbying.”
“We are actively contacting our membership telling them what counties are voting and what the talking points may be,” Harris said Friday.
He acknowledged the “scorecard” is not too good right now and said, “We anticipated that.”
Harris says he expected the large counties would opt out, but that they would do it on a park by park basis.
“The bill specifically says they should be doing that on a park by park consideration, and they are not doing that. They are just making it an either closed or open standard,” said Harris.
The Metro Council passed the opt out measure during its first reading.
It will take a second look at the issue next Thursday.
The final vote comes at the council's third reading which could be later in August.
- July 30, 2009: Metro debates whether to allow guns in parks
- July 29, 2009: Mt. Juliet will let permit holders' guns in parks
- July 28, 2009: Franklin opts out of guns in parks
- July 27, 2009: Gun ban remains for school athletic events, attorney general says
- July 21, 2009: Metro compromise ahead for 'guns in parks'?
- July 20, 2009: Columbia votes to allow 'guns in parks'
- July 17, 2009: Council member looks to ban guns in parks
- July 14, 2009: Williamson Co. municipalities shoot down 'guns in parks'
- July 13, 2009: Guns banned from Williamson Co., Brentwood parks
- July 10, 2009: Murfreesboro opts out of guns in parks
- July 7, 2009: Williamson Co. considers opting out of guns in parks
- June 29, 2009: Local governments consider ban on guns in parks
- June 18, 2009: Nashville looks to keep guns out of parks
- May 27, 2009: 'Guns in parks' bill is one step closer to becoming law
- March 4, 2009: Should guns be allowed in parks?