Guns-in-parking-lots bill advances in Tennessee House

Guns-in-parking-lots bill advances in Tennessee House

April 10th, 2012 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

House Speaker Beth Harwell presides over a floor session in Nashville on Thursday. The Nashville Republican said afterward that she has been told by Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, that a bill to guarantee employees the right to store firearms in vehicles parked at work won't come to a floor vote in the upper chamber this year.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Four bills came out of a House subcommittee today that would protect workers' ability to store firearms in their locked vehicles parked on company lots.

The bills now go to the full Consumer Affairs Committee.

Last week, Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville predicted the bills, supported by the National Rifle Association but opposed by businesses, would move through committee and get to the floor.

But Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville has said he doesn't think there is time to pass the legislation, given an ongoing debate over what constitutes a public parking lot.

NRA lobbyist Darren LaSorte said after the House subcommittee vote today that "there have been a lot of people who have predicted clearly the demise of legislation related to guns in this state and other states many times before. I think we're looking at doing whatever we can to revive them and see they receive a full and fair hearing on the floors of both houses."

LaSorte said that may not occur through "normal channels. I don't think it has time to go through the normal committee channel process."

But he said supporters could move to suspend House and Senate rules to bypass committees and bring the legislation directly to the floor. That would take a two-thirds vote in either chamber.