Tenn: CCW Guns Not Allowed? Then Get Better Security

Tennsee Gov. Bill Haslam.
Tennsee Gov. Bill Haslam.web photo

Under a new law recently signed by Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee, a number of city and county buildings, along with public park and buses will either have to buy metal detectors, hire security guards, and checks people’s bags, or allow concealed carry permit holders to keep their firearms with them in these locations.

Gun control advocates says that the law gives local officials "bad choices," according to this story from abcnews.com. The story says the law also opens local governments up to expensive lawsuits from groups like the National Rifle Association "on behalf of anyone who feels slighted by local gun control actions, a 'giveaway to the gun lobby,' according to the local chapter of the anti-gun group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

The NRA, though, contends the new law hold local government responsible for keeping people safe, and ensures law-abiding citizens don’t unintentionally violate local restrictions.

Haslam's signing of the bill could be overridden with a simple majority vote of state legislators, the story says.

The new law, the story says, fixes a possible interpretation of a 2015 law that could allow guns in Tennessee Titans professional football games and Nashville Predators hockey games.

"This bill also leaves to local governments the ultimate decision of whether to prohibit firearms in local government buildings, and the new provisions in this bill give local governments and their permittees more control over security at large entertainment venues," Haslam spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals said in the story.

Critics say they worry that the law will allow licensed concealed carriers to have their guns at Music City Central, a major bus station in Nashville, and on buses, which are used by school children—though what danger exactly the licensed concealed carriers might pose to children is not stated.

The new law might contradict another law that says it is a felony to bring guns into a facility used for school purposes.

Of course, opting to not allow CCW firearms would be costly. The story says adding security features at transit stations and buses could cost the four large urban public transit systems $3.8 million up front and $36 million annually, in addition to upending the bus scheduling.

The new law still exempts certain locations from allowing concealed carry, including health and mental health facilities, Department of Children Services offices, libraries, schools, parks used by schools, buildings where judicial proceedings take place, buildings that hold law enforcement agencies, and Head Start facilities.

The law doesn’t address state buildings, including the state capitol. Visitors there must already pass through metal detectors.