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Confusion over guns-in-parks law deepens, gun rights activists blame legislators


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennessee’s so-called guns-in-parks bill has proven difficult to implement and the state’s gun rights activists are angry about the confusion.

Passed earlier this year by the Tennessee Legislature and signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, the bill stripped local municipalities of the authority to ban guns in public parks.

But a series of opinions by State Attorney General Herbert Slattery has thrown implementation of the law into confusion. On Tuesday, Slattery’s office released an opinion essentially stating that wherever a school meets, guns are not permitted. Guns could not be carried, for instance, on a church property if a school was meeting there.

Earlier this year, Slattery released an opinion that carry permit holders could take their weapons to events held in public parks even if the event organizers objected. The City of Nashville has already said it disputes that interpretation and will continue to ban guns from large city venues such as the new Ascend Amphitheatre and Nissan Stadium.

John Harris with the Tennessee Firearms Association says blame for the confusion rests squarely on the shoulders of the Republican super-majority in the State Legislature.

“The problem is they made promises and they’ve not kept them. So we’re going to continue to push to try to get their attention to fix these laws and make them simple to understand.”

Legislators will likely revisit gun carry regulations when the Tennessee General Assembly reconvenes beginning in January.