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TN Business Leaders Oppose ‘Guns-in-Parking-Lots’ Citing Property Rights, Safety

Press release from a coalition of business leaders across the state; March 6, 2012:

Violates employers’ property rights, endangers lives, adds costs that can kill jobs

NASHVILLE – A coalition of leaders from across the state will tell legislators Tuesday about their fears if the “guns-in-parking-lots” bill if passed.

More than a dozen representatives of business, professional associations, hospitals, private colleges and universities, and law enforcement will testify before members of the Senate Commerce and Agriculture Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.

They will express their opposition to a pair of bills that would strip them of their right to ban firearms on privately owned property, such as a parking lot. They say the legislation would deny employers their fundamental property rights and would impose costs that will jeopardize jobs.

Remarks about the legislation from several who are expected to testify:

Bill Ozier, chairman of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “Emotions run high in the workplace. If employers are going to provide a safe place for their employees, the should have the right to set the rules on company property.”

Tom Midyett, Tennessee Paper Council, representing more than 300 paper-related businesses: “In their proper place, guns are an integral part of our Tennessee heritage and our lifestyle. But you do not need to upset company policies that have worked well in Tennessee for many, many years, by creating this new mandate on Tennessee employers. You certainly do not need to infringe further on the private property rights of my Tennessee Paper Council members or any other property owners in Tennessee.”

Rick Lassiter, president of Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville: “According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, health-care workers are more than three times as likely as workers in other industries to be injured by acts of violence. A hospital ER or an ICU waiting room are two of the most emotionally charged workplaces around. Add guns to the mix, and you turn a place where lives are saved into a place where lives are in danger.”

Others expected to attend include representatives of the Tennessee Business Roundtable, the Hospital Alliance of Tennessee, Associated Builders and Contractors of Middle Tennessee, the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, FedEx Corp., the Tennessee Public and Teaching Hospital Association, Volkswagen, Campus Chiefs of Police, Bridgestone Americas, Tennessee Class I Railroads, and the Greater Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

Members of the Senate Commerce and Agriculture Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m., in 12 Legislative Plaza to consider SB2992. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 3:30 p.m. in the same room to consider SB3002.

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