NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WRKN) – Some top Tennessee leaders continue to groan a bit about guns in parks, but there are still plenty of questions to be answered about the controversial bill.
The measure that pits two versions passed by the Tennessee House and Senate against each other now heads to the Senate likely Thursday after the House Monday night disagreed with the Senate version.
Most of the top leaders in both chambers have supported guns in parks while also pushing back on all the attention to the controversial bill.
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is the latest with some brief comments to a Republican group called First Tuesday.
“You read the newspaper and the media and you think that is all we talk about,” he told the group with a grin. “I will be glad to take questions, but that’s is not all I want to talk about.”
So there were questions from the group about things like Common Core and road repair but not the gun bill, which removes local prohibitions for permit holders to carry their weapons in parks.
More questions did come from reporters afterwards.
“If I was going to make a prediction today, I would think we would… refuse to recede from our actions,” said Lt. Gov. Ramsey. “It would then go to a conference committee, and let’s be honest, the amendment that went on was not originally part of the bill.”
The Lt. Governor referred to last week’s Senate amendment to the bill that also removed any local prohibition against guns at the state capitol, but Ramsey said he “doesn’t care if that part remains on the bill or not.”
He outlined his hopes for what will eventually happen to the bill.
“I want the guns in parks bill to pass. I don’t want the governor to veto it or become law without his signature,” added Lt. Gov. Ramsey. “I think we will get something out of conference committee that will be palatable to both houses.” Ramsey acknowledged a sticking point about whether or not the guns in parks bill addresses the issue of carrying handguns in parks bordering or used by schools.
That is a confusing issue that needs to be addressed, and if it goes to conference committee, it could be part of the conference committee report.” said Ramsey.
It means plenty of debate still ahead on the guns in parks bill.