Next time you’re visiting lawmakers in Nashville, bring your gun.
Leading state lawmakers said Wednesday that it’s now totally O.K. for gun carry permit holders to bring guns with them in the new legislative offices in Nashville.
“Tennessee carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding demographics in our state,” Lieut. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell said in a joint statement Wednesday.
To carry a gun in the building, carry permit holders must submit their permits. Those permits will be given a “thorough screening process.”
“Once that validity is established, a permit holder will be allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights while visiting their state government,” reads the joint statement.
John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, said the move was “welcomed but unexpected” and he had some questions. Like, would state employees now be able to carry in the Capitol?
“It is believed that for years the legislative leaders and the Tennessee Highway Patrol have ‘looked the other way’ when elected officials (such as legislators) carried personal firearms in the legislature despite the posted ban,” Harris said in a statement, noting the violation is a Class B misdemeanor.
Harris also wondered why this took so long?
“The question remains as to why Tennessee, which has been subject to a Republican governor, a Republican Lt. Governor, a Republican Speaker and which has had super majorities of Republicans in both houses of its legislature since at least 2011, has failed to take this step in the past but has instead treated handgun permit holders as perhaps 'too dangerous' to trust around the lawmakers for the last seven years,” Harris wrote.