Monday, February 23, 2009

Tennessee lawmakers fast-track gun bills

From the Volunteer State:
NASHVILLE -- The legislature began fast-tracking bills Thursday to let people with carry permits take guns into state and local parks and establishments serving alcohol -- all places where they are currently banned.

The House handgun study committee also recommended making secret the list of Tennessee's 219,236 gun-carry permit holders and to penalize any publication of their identities. Shelby County has 32,934 permit licensees.

The panel recommended four bills on which Chairman Joe McCord, R-Maryville, said there is broad consensus to approve. All four are set for the criminal justice subcommittee next week and could reach floor votes in March.

Lawmakers said the parks bill would prohibit cities and counties from restricting handguns in their local parks, playgrounds and ball fields.

Current Tennessee law outlaws guns in all state and local parks, playgrounds and ball fields other than by law enforcement officers.

The bill allowing guns in places serving alcohol, including restaurants, was recommended with a provision forbidding guns after 11 p.m.

The new Republican majority has made the bills' passage a virtual certainty after years of defeat. McCord said The Commercial Appeal's posting of a searchable database of permit holders on its Web site also prompted swift action. [emphasis added]

Article here.

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