Tennessee: Bill to allow handguns in state parks, wildlife areas passes committee

Tennessee: Bill to allow handguns in state parks, wildlife areas passes committee

March 4th, 2009 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

NASHVILLE - Legislation allowing those with handgun permits to bring their weapons into state parks as well as state wildlife management areas passed the House Judiciary Committee this morning.

Committee members passed House Bill 961, which authorizes persons with permits to possess their firearm in a refuge, public hunting area, wildlife management area or on national forest land on a voice vote.

Also approved on a voice vote was House Bill 716, which authorizes permit holders to bring their firearm into state parks. It does not include local parks.

Both bills now go to the House Finance Committee.

Meanwhile, the committee also approved House Bill 254, which deletes an existing requirement that purchasers of firearms give a thumbprint as part of the background check process and that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation furnish thumbprint cards and pads to firearm dealers.

The committee delayed a bill allowing permit holders to bring their handguns into restaurants selling alcohol until 11 p.m. - provided they do not drink.

Also delayed was legislation shutting down public access to a Department of Safety database on who holds handgun permits. The bill also would make it a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to $2,500 in fines to publish information about who has a permit.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, said he delayed the database-closure bill because he is thinking of doing away with the criminal sanction and instead creating a cause of action through which permit holders can sue if information about them is published.