Legislation could allow guns on campus

On Feb. 13, a Tenn. House  subcomittee passed Bill 141, known as the “guns-in-parking lots” legislation in an attempt to allow gun permit carriers to have their weapons in their vehicles on campus.
The legislation would allow permit holders to conceal their firearms in their cars at workplaces or on college campuses without discrimination.
“I think it’s a good idea, because we have the right to bare arms and we shouldn’t have restrictions,” Rhen Hughey, freshmen commuter said.
Other students have a different idea of how the law could affect their campus living.
“I think it was happening anyway even before the law was passed,” Heather Howard, senior commuter, said. “I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves, we know enough people who have permits. Do we really think they never have their weapons with them?”
The bill passed the Senate on Feb. 11, 28-5, with all 26 Republicans voting to pass, and two of seven Democrats, Ophelia Ford, Memphis Senate, and Lowe Finney, Jackson Senate.
The “guns-in-parking lots” legislation could make it a requirement for all employers to allow guns in their parking lots as long as weapons are locked in vehicles.
“I think it’s scary,” Cara Hughey, a freshman who lives on campus, said. “Yeah, it is good for protection purposes, but for shooters it will just be easier for them to bring the gun on to campus without questions.”
Bill 141 could allow the 371,800 Tennesseans who hold carry permits, and those from outside the state whose permits are recognized in Tennessee, to take their weapons to work or campuses provided that they keep the weapon locked in a secure location in their vehicle. The bill also includes material meant to protect employers from lawsuits in the event of a workplace shooting or theft.
“I think that’s fine, but I came from a family that always has had guns around,” Tiffany Milligan, a freshmen commuter said. “I don’t believe guns hurt people just crazy people do, as long as they’re permitted and everything is done legally I don’t see a problem.”
While the rest of the country is now considering tightening laws on gun control, Tennessee has stirred controversy by passing this legislation to allow weapons on school grounds less than two months after the Newtown, Conn. massacre.
The legislation will need to pass the full Tenn. House before being signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam.
As of press time, a date for a full House vote had not been scheduled.