Press Releases

Guns-in-Parks Conference Committee Overstepped Mandate, say House Democrats

Press Release from the Democratic Caucus of the Tennessee House of Representatives, April 16, 2015:


The “Guns in Parks” bill passed the House today over the strenuous objections of Leader Craig Fitzhugh, who pointed out that the Republican Majority had misused an obscure conference committee to try to re-write the bill to address some of the bill’s most obvious problems. It didn’t work: as passed, the bill still overrides citizens and cancels out laws passed by many cities and towns keeping guns out of the local parks where our kids play ball, our families picnic and our seniors go for peace and relaxation. Democrat Harold Love, who participated on a conference committee with Republicans to fashion a bill out of competing House and Senate versions, offered an alternative that would have effectively kept in place the current law, which lets locals decide whether they want guns in their parks. The majority voted Rep. Love’s plan down, so the locals will lose their say unless Governor Haslam steps up to veto the bill.

You should know that before this bill ever got to the Conference Committee, Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh, Caucus Chair Mike Stewart and Representatives Bo Mitchell, Jason Powell, Sherry Jones and Bill Beck led the charge against the guns in parks legislation, voicing their objections to this bill in subcommittee and committee and even going so far as offering 11 Amendments once it was on the House Floor to clarify specific activities that would “opt-out” the park from allowing open carry. Each time, the amendment was almost immediately tabled without even allowing discussion on the purpose of the amendment.

Upon introducing the 11th and final amendment, Rep. Bo Mitchell summarized the discussion on the bill by saying, “In the last 11 amendments, we’ve voted against Little League, SEC Sports, the Sabbath, family, local control. Right now you’ve got the opportunity to vote against the tabling motion so we’re not voting against Easter, Christmas, Hannukah, and other religious events. What is more important? You know, Is a gun that important to you that you put it ahead of all those things? Is it really that important to have it in a park for a little league game…I’m just asking you not to have it at religious events. At a wedding, at a baptism. You know, where are our priorities?”

But why tell you about all these things when we can just show you? Click the image below and watch our Democratic State House Representatives in action.

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