Tennessee legislators have given final approval to a bill allowing handgun-carry permit holders to bring guns into all state and national parks in Tennessee, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Permit holders could also take their firearms into all local parks unless cities and counties vote to ban them in the parks under their jurisdictions. Gov. Phil Bredesen must decide whether to sign the bill, along with another one that would allow permit holders to transport rifles and shotguns with bullets and shells loaded into their magazines, but not chambered, in private vehicles.
Congress last week voted to allow people with gun-carry permits to carry handguns into national parks if the states they are located in authorize permit holders to carry there. The state legislature has sent three substantive expansions of Tennessee’s handgun-carry permit law to Bredesen, who can sign them into law, veto them, or allow them to become law without his signature. The Tennessean reported that Nashville is likely to exercise the right to maintain a gun ban in its local parks. Parks Director Roy Wilson said allowing guns in parks would put children at greater risk because many of the city’s parks are near schools.