Tenn. lawmakers debate parking lot gun bill

Tenn. lawmakers debate parking lot gun bill (Image 1)

Tennessee lawmakers are about to take aim on another gun bill on Capitol Hill, this time concerning guns in parking lots.

Second amendment advocates say the bill, SB 3002, is about their right of self-defense, but most people can agree it's a conflict of property rights, gun rights and personal safety.

The bill would allow drivers to carry a permitted weapon into employer or public parking lots if the firearm is stored out of sight in a locked vehicle.

The bill received mixed reviews at a Vanderbilt University parking garage Thursday night.

Student Jennifer Hood told Nashville's News 2, “We have had incidents of people being in the garage or girls being assaulted in the garage, so it's a little bit scary to think they may have a weapon or something like that, but at the same time, I have to protect myself.”

“My concern that someone would have a woman to attack me,” said medical student Monique Simpson, “but I don't have a permit to carry a gun, but if I had one, it might make me feel safer.”

John Harris of the Tennessee Firearms Association said some FedEx pilots are pushing for the measure that he calls the “safe commute bill.”

Harris said, “They prefer to have the capacity going to and from work, if they run out of gas, get carjacked, to be stopped to be able to defend themselves.”

So what are the chances that Tennesseans may be able to carry weapons in parking lots?

Gov. Bill Haslam, said earlier this week, “We felt like it was overly broad in terms that it covered all parking lots whether it was at a school or other things.”

That means the parking lot gun bill may get moderated, but firearms advocates are locked and loaded for a fight.

“Your car is an item of property that you have the same property rights in as the guy who owns the real estate,” said Harris.

A second gun bill, SB 2992, is a companion to the parking lot measure.

Advocates say it would prevent discrimination against gun permit holders by employers.

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