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Reaction to Senate Passage of the Gun Open Carry Bill

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A bill passed this week by the Tennessee Senate that would allow citizens to openly carry firearms in public is drawing praise, criticism, and concern.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron disparages the measure calling it "wild west" legislation.

“The days when people strap on pistols and carry them everywhere is over. But this Tea Party bunch of Republicans are determined to carry Tennessee back, not only to the 20th century, but the 19th.”

Kyle Evans, a spokesman for Murfreesboro Police says the department is concerned the bill could have unintended consequences, but says the legislation needs further study.

“At this point we’re still reviewing that legislation and its possible implications and we’ll possibly have more to talk about in the next several days.”

WMOT contacted several Republican legislators seeking comment, but none have responded.

In an email, John Harris of the Tennessee Firearms Association applauded passage of the Senate bill and accused Republican leaders in the House of trying “bury” the companion bill.

At the moment, the House version of the bill is stalled in a subcommittee of the House Finance Committee.

Gov. Bill Haslam says his administration will reserve judgment on the measure until "safety and security concerns" have been evaluated.