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