published Friday, March 8th, 2013

Joe Carr left House guns debate for congressional bid event

Rep. Joe  Carr
Rep. Joe Carr
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — A Rutherford County Republican lawmaker left in the middle of the final state House floor debate on a controversial guns-in-parking lots bill to promote his expected 4th Congressional District bid, a Nashville newspaper reported Friday.

Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lacassas, was one of two House members officially excused from the chamber’s proceedings, House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, announced during the Feb. 28 debate.

The Nashville City Paper reported on its website that Carr headed to a Franklin country club to attend a fundraiser for his congressional campaign.

The seat is held by Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. State Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, has announced he will run in the GOP primary for the 4th District seat in 2014.

The City Paper quoted Carr saying saying he went to a gathering of “close personal friends” supporting his candidacy. Earlier this year, Carr formed an official exploratory committee.

“I made a calculated decision based on the votes that were necessary for passage,” Carr told the newspaper about his decision to leave in the midst of proceedings on a bill of key interest to Second Amendment advocates. “I don’t think it was an unreasonable choice that I made. Not unreasonable at all.”

Carr missed a series of votes on amendments to the bill, which allows handgun-carry permit holders legally to go armed on almost all parking lots in Tennessee. Businesses and Second Amendment advocates have battled over similar legislation for two years.

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