If state legislation to allow guns in parks is enacted, Metro Council members are prepared to respond by bringing forward legislation that would maintain the status quo in Davidson County.
Legislation has been approved by both Houses that would allow gun carry permit holders to bring guns into parks. It is awaiting a signature from Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Last week Bredesen vetoed similar legislation to allow guns in restaurants and bars, but legislators overrode that veto Thursday. The new law allowing guns in restaurants will go into effect July 14.
If Bredesen signs off on guns in parks, or if his veto is over-ridden again, then Council will respond by filing legislation that would again make carrying guns into Davidson County parks illegal.
“It is horrible public policy. The day the governor signs it, that same day I’m filing legislation to outlaw it locally,” at-large Councilman Jerry Maynard said.
Metro Council already passed a memorializing resolution opposing guns in parks. The bill was co-sponsored by Maynard and fellow at-large Council member Megan Barry.
Metro oversees its own parks and would by charter be able to outlaw guns in parks, according to Maynard, if Council passed a law of its own.
The bill has support of other Council members as well, including District 7 Councilman Erik Cole. Mayor Karl Dean signed the memorializing resolution sponsored by Barry and Maynard.
Dean said he believes guns in both parks and bars is “a bad idea.”
“I think there’s a general feeling that our parks are highly populated, highly utilized,” Cole said. “We are a large county and we have some rural areas but it seems like by and large the opinions I hear are folks would rather not have weapons in the parks at all.”
The movement against guns in parks by Council comes at the same time that at-large Councilman Charlie Tygard is pursuing legislation that would allow Metro to pull beer permits of establishments that allow customers to carry guns.