NASHVILLE - Gun rights and property rights advocates clashed on the House floor today over legislation encouraging employers to let workers with handgun-carry permits keep firearms in their vehicles while parked on company property.
The bill sought to nudge employers into allowing workers to store weapons in their locked vehicles by exempting them from lawsuits arising from any incident.
But Second Amendment proponents argued the bill did not go far enough. They sought to amend it in order to force employers to let permit holders keep their guns in vehicles.
"In my opinion, my vehicle is my personal property," said Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, who offered the amendment mandating that permit holders could keep weapons in their vehicles.
In a show of gun advocates' strength, efforts to table Bass' amendment failed on a 51-35 vote. The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Evans, R-Greenbrier, sent the bill back to the Judiciary Committee.
Earlier, Evans told Bass he agreed with him and noted that his bill originally did have an employer mandate. But Evans said a number of lawmakers felt ordering employers to let workers store weapons in their vehicles went "too far."
As part of an agreement to get the bill through the Judiciary Committee, Evans said, he had committed to swap the mandate for the incentive. He said he had also committed to not pushing the bill at all if the mandate was included.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.