With just a week to go before election day, Republican Bill Haslam is backing away from comments he made recently about eliminating handgun carry permits.
“I’m in favor of leaving the law the way it is now. I’ve said that that night. I’ve said that ever since then. Somehow we keep coming back to this,” Haslam said Monday.
During a meeting with members of the Tennessee Firearms Association a week ago, the two-term Knoxville mayor indicated he would sign legislation allowing gun owners to carry their weapons in public without permits, should such a change in law pass in the Tennessee General Assembly. (Link to full video of TFA meeting)
Since then, Haslam has adjusted his stance, saying he’d in fact advocate against such changes to the law, but he has stopped short from retracting his comments before the gun-rights advocates.
Democrat Mike McWherter, who polls suggest is trailing considerably in the race for governor, pounced on Haslam’s comments last week with a commercial charging that the GOP candidate “caved under pressure and supports allowing even convicted felons and domestic abusers to carry a concealed gun, no questions asked.”
Haslam noted that even if the law was changed, background checks would still be required for the purchase of handguns.
With one week to go before election day, McWherter says his strategy during the remaining days of the campaign is to continually question Haslam’s leadership ability.
About one half million voters have already cast their ballots in Tennessee, according to state officials. Despite what appear to be long odds, McWherter maintains that he still has time to sway a majority of state voters his way.
Here are clips from both on the campaign trail Monday: