Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said he’s convinced employees already lock up their firearms in their vehicles parked at work, and he said he wants to quickly make the practice legal.
Ramsey said he plans to hammer out a compromise early next year over legislation that last year pinned Republicans between gun rights advocates — who want to commute to work with their firearms — and the business community, which wants to retain the right to ban guns on their property.
“If you’re a gun carry permit holder and you keep a gun in your car locked in your glove compartment, then you ought to be able to leave it there. That’s not going to bother anybody,” Ramsey told reporters following a State Building Commission meeting on Capitol Hill Thursday.
“I will guarantee you that there are gun carry permit holders that have a firearm in their car in their parking lot at work as we’re sitting here speaking,” Ramsey said. “All we’re doing is we’re making those people legal. It’s silly that we’re spending this much time spinning our wheels.”
Ramsey, who has been quick to criticize the Tennessee Firearms Association for trying to bully legislators into legalizing the practice, said he would reach out to businesses opposed to the idea such as Volkswagen , which is considering expanding operations  in Chattanooga.
Ramsey called suggestions “silly” that companies like Volkswagen could decide against any future expansions based on legislation that allows workers to stow guns on work property.
“For the business community in particular, this shouldn’t be something that concerns you. The day after it passes, seriously, you won’t see any effect on this,” he said.
But gun rights advocates won’t get everything they want either, he said, adding they should “just accept that and let’s move forward.”
The so-called “guns-in-lots” legislation last year revealed divisions with the Republican-led legislature. Legislative leaders at the time said the measure was too broad while other members pushed to pass it.
The proposal was denied a vote on the full chamber floors, sparking political retaliation from gun rights advocates who poured about $100,000 into a House primary election race to successfully unseat a key Republican chamber leader. Since then, some lawmakers have said they want to quickly come up with a compromise to settle the issue while other lawmakers have said the political games have turned them off  from groups such as the TFA and the National Rifle Association.
Both gun rights advocates and officials with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce have said they are meeting with Republican leadership about the issue.
Lawmakers are due back to Capitol Hill Jan. 8.