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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE -- Gov. Bill Haslam said today he has "some major concerns" about a guns-in-local parks bill that now includes a provision allowing Tennessee handgun permit holders to bring their weapons into the state Capitol.

The Republican governor's concerns about the amended bill, which comes up this evening before the House for agreement on a new Senate amendment, are two-fold.

"I think our safety and security folks have some major concerns about [state Capitol's inclusion], which they'll be expressing today in terms of both the practical realities of how that would happen as well as the process," Haslam said.

The GOP-led Senate last week approved the previously passed House bill but included an amendment filed by a Democratic critic of the legislation that included the "Capitol complex."

Haslam said he also has concerns about the underlyng bill, which would override local government bans on carrying weapons into local parks, playgrounds and ball fields.

"There's obviously a lot of confusion about what happens at parks that are used by schools, but not owned by schools, but are used at some point in time" by a school, Haslam said. "Exactly what is the law on that? That confusion is something we're working on to clear up."

The governor said it's premature to talk about a veto, given how quickly bills can change in the Legislature. But "it's safe to say" that he favors stripping the bill of the state Capitol provision, Haslam said. House Republicans plan to strip the provision, saying it prove expensive in terms of adding security to screen permit holders.

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin told reporters last week that firearms would not be allowed in public parks used by schools because of another provision in state law. But two previous state attorney general opinions appear to cloud that interpretation.

Haslam said he plans to seek another attorney general opinion.

Meanwhile, the governor said he's not disappointed the National Rifle Association did not extend an invitation to him to address the Second Amendment advocacy group, which holds its annual meeting in Nashville this week.

"We're glad they're coming to town. We're thrilled to have 70,000 folks coming. I won't be giving an opening address," the governor said, noting he will be in Chattanooga and Knoxville when the gathering kicks off on Friday.

Haslam has come under criticism for his past opposition to several bills expanding permit holders ability to go armed.

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