Metro Council voted at its Tuesday meeting to advance a bill to ban guns in Davidson County parks, but shot down another bill that would have outlawed guns in bars by regulating beer permits.
The bill to ban guns in Metro parks passed on first reading with a 26-9 vote. Some members who oppose such a ban still voted for the bill because of the need to debate it thoroughly in the committee system.
“I do think it’s very important we honor the committee process,” said District 27 Councilman Randy Foster, who abstained from Tuesday's vote.
Mayor Karl Dean has called guns in parks “a bad idea” and the bill’s sponsor at-large Councilman Jerry Maynard said it was an opportunity to opt out of a bad piece of state legislation.
The bill to outlaw guns from places serving alcohol was withdrawn by its primary sponsor at-large Councilman Charlie Tygard. Although Tygard supports such a ban, Metro Legal told him state preemption laws prohibit Metro from regulating firearms in any way. The bill would have regulated beer permits and made banning firearms a condition of obtaining a permit.
Councilman Robert Duvall defended the recently passed state bill, which allows gun carry permit holders to bring concealed weapons into public parks. He called permit holders the “cream of the crop” and said their training justified their Second Amendment right to carry firearms.
The guns in parks bill had an ‘opt out’ option for local governments. Memphis and Chattanooga city governments are both pursuing one as well.