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Old February 26, 2009, 11:59 AM   #1
Join Date: April 30, 2002
Posts: 39
Gun Bills Advance in TN Legislature

And the Memphis Commercial Appeal whines about the fact that its mis-use of the First Amendment is going to result in it being made illegal to "out" people with Handgun Carry Permits.

It concerns me that the vote on allowing permitted carry in parks has been delayed.

Handgun bills advance in Tennessee legislature

By Richard Locker (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NASHVILLE -- A House subcommittee approved bills Wednesday allowing people with gun-carry permits to take firearms into state parks and places serving alcohol.

It also approved a bill making permit records confidential and criminalizing "unauthorized" publication of information from them, including identifying whether people involved in gun crimes are licensed to carry.

The action came on the same day Memphis police charged Martino Johnson with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Terrell Beasley after a minor traffic accident Monday.

If the bill were already law, media outlets could be fined $2,500 for reporting that Johnson -- plus another man charged with murder earlier this month after an argument over parking at a Cordova shopping center -- were gun-carry permit holders at the times of the shootings.

The Criminal Practice and Procedures Subcommittee is the first standing committee to start moving dozens of bills loosening restrictions on where guns can be carried and blocking public access to the state-issued licenses.

The bills' next stop: the House Judiciary Committee, probably next week.

The subcommittee delayed for a week a bill opening all city- and county-owned parks and ball fields to guns.

Guns are currently banned from state and local parks. Jim Fyke, state commissioner of environment and conservation, and the parks director for Goodlettsville, told lawmakers he opposes guns in parks because of the potential danger to patrons.

House Speaker Kent Williams said guns in parks, especially local parks, is a concern: "I've attended lots of sports events in parks over the years with my four boys. I've seen parents fighting parents, parents fighting coaches, coaches fighting coaches, coaches fighting umpires. I think a gun would only escalate the problem."

Rep. Janice Sontany, D-Nashville, offered an amendment to remove local parks from the bill.

"I don't think there's any place for a gun in a park," Sontany said. "We have many many children in parks. Emotions can get high. My neighbor is an umpire and he says he can't believe how parents act in front of their children."

John Harris of the Tennessee Firearms Association did not testify but told reporters later that permit holders should have the same right to carry in parks as anywhere else.

The guns in restaurants bill, sponsored by Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, allows carry-permit holders to take guns into places serving alcohol until 11 p.m. and if they are not drinking.

Dan Haskell of the Tennessee Hospitality Association told the committee that restaurants oppose the bill.

Tennessee has licensed 220,000 people to carry guns, 33,000 in Shelby County.

Sontany and Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, cast the only votes against the bill on the six-member subcommittee, which also approved a bill repealing a requirement that gun dealers take a thumbprint of buyers.

There was little discussion about the bill closing permit records and criminalizing their publication.

Frank Gibson of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government said the penalty is unconstitutional and would stop reporting about problems in the permit program.

"If you ask a police officer if the man who shot somebody at the restaurant last night had a permit, the officer and the Department of Safety wouldn't be allowed to say. And the press could be investigated and fined if it found out and printed it," he said.
Seminole is offline  
Old February 26, 2009, 12:16 PM   #2
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Join Date: November 16, 2008
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Publishing lists that contain all the names of permit holders for the sake of outing them should certainly be prohibited.

But prohibiting a newspaper from publishing whether or not someone accused of a serious crime involving a gun has a permit would seem to me to be unconstutional.

If there are problems with permit holders we shouldn't try to hide them. We should simply point out that a few isolated incidents are no justification for prohibiting concealed carry.
vranasaurus is offline  
Old February 26, 2009, 03:15 PM   #3
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Location: Tioga co. PA
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I would comment that here in PA we can carry in restaurants and bars without limitations. It has not been a problem. If a restaurant doesn't want guns they can simply post them out. I don't think laws the restrict private property rights are proper for the most part.
USNRET '61-'81
rwilson452 is offline  
Old March 1, 2009, 01:22 PM   #4
Yankee Traveler
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Join Date: April 17, 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 255
"If a restaurant doesn't want guns they can simply post them out."

The irony of that would be, How many patrons would come to tye door and think "There must be a problem with gun play in this place, otherwise they wouldn't have posted No Guns. Lets go someplace else..."
Yankee Traveler is offline  

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