Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has been busy signing pro-gun bills into law. Among the bills the Republican governor signed recently include a “guns in parks” bill, a “shall-certify” bill, a privacy bill and a lifetime concealed carry bill.
Arguably the most controversial bill was the “guns in parks” bill, which allows law-abiding citizens with valid concealed carry permits the right to carry in public parks around the state.
“Overall I believe the legislation in its final form is a vast improvement from the bill as initially introduced,” Haslam wrote in a letter to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell explaining his decision, as the Tennessean reported.
“However, I am concerned that an unintended consequence may be operational challenges for local leaders in managing their parks in a safe, effective and consistent manner, due to events and situations that could not have been anticipated in drafting this law.”
It appears the governor wants to revisit the law at a later date to evaluate whether there are any issues with the guns in parks bill. The National Rifle Association backed the bill.
“Law-abiding Tennesseans have a fundamental right to protect themselves, whether in their homes or in parks,” said Chris Cox, the head of the NRA-ILA in a statement. “This will remove a patchwork of laws throughout the state that could have turned law-abiding citizens into unintentional criminals.”
The guns in parks bill was slammed by Everytown for Gun Safety and the Safe Tennessee Project.
“The reality that the legislature would not listen to the mayors, city councils, the Department of Education, school boards, police departments, sheriff’s departments, school administrators and citizens across the state that opposed this bill and instead pass a lobbyist-written law opposed by taxpayers is shameful,” said the Safe Tennessee Project in a statement.
For more on the other bills Gov. Haslam signed, here are the details courtesy of the NRA-ILA:
House Bill 745, sponsored by state Representative Holsclaw (R-4) and state Senator Niceley (R-8), creates a lifetime handgun carry permit. This law sets the application fee for a lifetime handgun carry permit at $500. This law will go into effect on July 1, 2015.
Senate Bill 633, sponsored by state Senator Bailey (R-15) and state Representative Van Huss (R-6), prohibits schools from requiring students or parents to provide information on firearm ownership, prohibits local education agencies from requiring employees to provide information on firearm ownership, and prohibits adverse disciplinary or employment action based on information of firearm ownership that is voluntarily provided. This law goes into effect immediately.
House Bill 1255, sponsored by state Representative Sargent (R-61) and state Senator Johnson (R-23), requires the chief law enforcement officer of a jurisdiction to certify the transfer or making of a firearm, as required by the National Firearms Act, within 15 days if the applicant is not prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm by law. This law also permits an applicant to appeal a denial to the circuit court. This law goes into effect immediately.