Gun bills await TN lawmakers' return to capitol - WSMV News 4

Gun bills await TN lawmakers' return to capitol

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Some called 2009 the "Year of the Gun" in Tennessee, as the legislature passed a whole bunch of different gun laws - from guns in parks to guns in bars.

There hasn't been much on gun issues since then, but that is likely about to change.

When state lawmakers return for the legislative session, they can expect a lot of gun talk at the capitol. Several proposals will be up for discussion, and now we're getting an idea about what one of the most controversial bills is going to look like.

"I think what the responsibility of the legislature is, is to not just protect the citizens of the state and advance the issues that they want advanced, but to protect the citizens of the state from the federal government," said State Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas.

Until recently, lawmakers thought there would really only be one big gun issue this year: a bill that would allow guns to be stored in cars in business parking lots.

But then came the shooting in Newtown, CT, and the president's gun control proposals that followed.

Now, Carr has two possible bills. One would make it a crime for federal agents to enforce a federal ban on semi-automatic weapons in the state, and the other would let school districts decide whether or not to allow trained faculty to bring their guns to school.

"I have been absolutely inundated with hundreds and hundreds of emails and phone calls. I've never received a response like that. I also will say I got my first death threat," Carr said.

Another proposal would close gun permit records from the public.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has been spearheading a compromise on the guns in cars bill and said he thinks they now have it.

He said the compromise would allow only permit holders to store their guns in their cars, and they wouldn't be allowed to bring the weapons into the building.

Business owners, he said, would have some liability protection, and campus parking lots would also be included in the legislation.

Gov. Bill Haslam has expressed his objection to that idea in the past.

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