Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; March 31, 2015:
Ban would keep demonstrators safe in emotionally charged situations
NASHVILLE – An amendment filed by Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris to guns-in-parks legislation would allow locals to ban handguns during hate rallies held in public parks.
“Some groups, like the KKK, use our parks and public spaces to call attention to their despicable beliefs,” Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris said. “These groups promote hate, overthrow of our government, and anti-Americanism.
“We’ve seen it before in Memphis recently and, unfortunately, it might happen again. When it happens in Memphis, the authority of the Memphis Police Department to make sure that no one brings a firearm to the debate keeps things from escalating. This is what the police tell me, and I want to preserve that tool.”
The amendment gives counties or municipalities the right to prohibit guns for up to 48 hours when a hate group, or a group committed to the overthrow of the United States has a permit to congregate in a public park and a city or county resolves that the congregation could be create imminent danger.
“I think we can all agree that these emotionally charged situations should never turn violent,” Sen. Harris said. “Temporarily removing guns from the equation protects both the demonstrators and any counter-demonstrators who exercise their First Amendment rights.”