House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh was joined Wednesday by members of the House Democratic Caucus at a press conference to discuss upcoming amendments to HB118, the ‘Guns in Parking Lots’ bill sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison in the House and Speaker Ron Ramsey in the Senate.
“We know the majority wants to pass this bill and pass it quickly,” said Leader Fitzhugh. “It’s made a mad dash through the Senate and the House, in some cases coming out of committee in less than six minutes.
That’s why we’re here today previewing the amendments and laying out our concerns.”
He said he has introduced seven amendments to the bill. He stated, "These amendments would protect private property rights and promote public safety while still preserving the rights of handgun permit holders to carry their firearms with them."
· Amendment 7—Posting
o Amendment rewrites the bill. Under this amendment, handgun carry permit holders are permitted to carry their gun anywhere in the state, unless otherwise posted.
· Amendment 8—Kyle Amendment
o Directs the department of safety to develop a procedure whereby businesses may seek a waiver from this bill.
· Amendment 9
o Classifies as “verbal assault” an altercation in which a person makes reference to a gun stored in a car on or near the parking area of the property. This would be a class E felony if a gun is not subsequently found in the referenced vehicle and a class D felony if a gun is subsequently found in the referenced vehicle.
· Amendment 10
o States that long-term parking areas—defined here as a parking lot designed for cars to be left for 36 or more hours—are not subject to this bill and instead preserves the right of the property owner to post.
· Amendment number 11—Education
o Exempts elementary schools, colleges and universities, vocational and technology centers, pre-schools and daycares from the bill.
· Amendment 12—People
o Exempts state prisons, local jails, alcohol and drug treatment centers, mental health institutions, hospitals and nursing homes from the bill.
· Amendment 13—Jobs
o Exempts unemployment offices from the bill.
“We are very concerned with the preoccupation the majority party has with guns,” said Leader Fitzhugh. “We still have high unemployment, a huge decision looming on health care and radical changes coming left and right to our education system, yet the majority party has chosen to make this their top priority and marquee issue. There is a fundamental disconnect between the majority party and the people of Tennessee.”