Vice mayor breaks tie on guns-in-parks vote

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 3:49am

Metro Council opted Davidson County out of state legislation on Thursday that would have allowed guns in parks, thanks in no small part to a tie-breaking vote from Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors.

A motion to table a motion to defer the legislation for another meeting was met with a 20-20 vote, requiring Neighbors to cast the deciding vote. Council then voted 22-18 to opt out of guns-in-parks.

It was Neighbors’ first vote since she was elected vice mayor in 2007. The vice mayor only casts votes in ties on Council.

“I had a feeling I might have to vote tonight,” Neighbors said, in reference to the various contentious issues on the Council agenda.

The state legislation passed earlier this year allows gun carry permit holders to take weapons into parks. But the legislation also carried an opt-out clause for local governments.

The Metro Department of Law actually wrote an opinion stating the opt-out was unnecessary because of pre-existing legislation outlawing guns in parks.

But at-large Councilman Jerry Maynard moved forward with the legislation.

District 33 Councilman Robert Duvall pleaded with Council to vote against the opt-out, stating the Second Amendment of the Constitution protected the right to carry guns into parks.

But District 19 Councilwoman Kristine LaLonde took exception with framing the argument that those who were in favor of opting out of guns in parks were also against the Second Amendment.

LaLonde pointed to a United States Supreme Court opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, in which he allowed for guns to be banned from “sensitive places” like schools and courthouses.

How they voted

In support: Greg Adkins, Megan Barry, Erik Cole, Erica Gilmore, Jason Holleman, Walter Hunt, Mike Jameson, Darren Jernigan, Kristine LaLonde, Edith Langster, Lonnell Matthews Jr., Jerry Maynard, Sean McGuire, Bo Mitchell, Sandra Moore, Pam Murray, Anna Page, Rip Ryman, Ronnie Steine, Carter Todd, Charlie Tygard and Vivian Wilhoite

Opposed: Buddy Baker, Karen Bennett, Carl Burch, Phil Claiborne, Sam Coleman, Michael Craddock, Eric Crafton, Duane Dominy, Robert Duvall, Emily Evans, Jim Forkum, Randy Foster, Tim Garrett, Jim Gotto, Frank Harrison, Jim Hodge, Bruce Stanley and Parker Toler

10 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 8/19/09 at 4:54

Thanks Nate for letting us know how they voted.

It will be usefull for the next election no matter which side you are on.

My guy just lost any possibility of getting my vote again especially with his Convention Center vote. To get the second term to get free medical care for life they have to earn it.

By: govskeptic on 8/19/09 at 6:45

Did anyone expect Vanderbilt's representative on the Council to vote differently? She was not put there(many donations) to vote any differenly on any issue other than the liberal view.

By: NGNG34 on 8/19/09 at 7:18

When laws were passed allowing those who qualified for a Handgun Carry Permit to carry firearms in public we were told by the media that our streets would run red with the blood of those shot over parking spaces.
It did not happen. In fact the crime rate continued its decline.

When laws were passed allowing Handgun Carry Permit holders to carry, at the discretion of management, firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol we were told we would have to step over the dead bodies to get to the rest room.
It did not happen.

Now we are told that allowing Handgun Carry Permit holders to carry firearms in county parks will result in massive orgy of blood and death. The way I see it the only difference between a park and the rest of the city is that a park has more trees. So it stands to reason that there must be something in those trees that makes people want to kill each other… right? I say we napalm and pave over these parks before it’s too late! Or do you want to wait until little Timmy shows up for Little League practice with not the wood bat that he used to bludgeon his victim nor the leather glove he used to muffle the cries for help, but a femur and a glove made from the skin of the hands of the corpse he hid behind the tree that made him take yet another innocent human life?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/19/09 at 7:33

Did anyone read the article in the Tennessean this past Sunday regarding the guy who is allowed to have a carry permit even though he has a violent past? His slick scumbag lawyer manages to get his cases dismissed so therefore he qualifies. The guy deals drugs and has a history of aggrevated assault charges.

By: Time for Truth on 8/19/09 at 10:06

Allowing guns in bars is absurd. But allowing guns in parks is a different issue. First of all, alcohol is not legally permitted in parks. And secondly, criminals are going to be carrying anyway.

A few beers can turn a law abiding citizen into an idiot, and allowing guns in bars can turn a fistfight into a gunfight with collateral damage. But a permit-holding law abiding citizen in a park having his weapon with him or in his car is no major danger. It wasn't that long ago that a Park policeman was shot at in Centennial Park. So, again, the criminals will be carrying anyway.

I'm not an NRA gun nut type so this vote is not a litmus test for me, as, say, support of the MCC would be. And it just reaffirms an existing law so it doesn't change anything. But if I were voting I would have gone with the minority.

By: Time for Truth on 8/19/09 at 10:09

Blanket, the law should be changed to exclude those with 'arrests' from holding permits, rather than 'convictions' IMO. Especially if any form of violence is involved.

By: Time for Truth on 8/19/09 at 10:13

id, I thought Gotto was your councilperson.

Or are you AGAINST guns in parks?

By: pandabear on 8/19/09 at 11:20

Thanks Nate.

Now I know.

By: Schuss on 8/19/09 at 11:24

Saved as PDF for voting reference.

By: Kosh III on 8/19/09 at 11:35