Ramsey concerned House could load up guns-in-parks bill with ‘emotion’

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said he’s concerned about the role emotions could play as the lower chamber contemplates a bill rolling back local government's authority to ban guns in parks.

House Speaker Beth Harwell said her chamber wants a version "more palatable to local government” and hinted last week she sees a difference between allowing guns in parks with playgrounds and natural areas like Percy Warner Park.

Ramsey says he wants laws about guns in parks as “standardized as possible,” with few exceptions for when guns would not be allowed. When asked what he thought about exempting parks with playgrounds, Ramsey said a change like that would be "purely for emotion," and said handgun carry permit holders should be able to carry their guns in parks statewide.

“Hopefully it won’t be loaded up with things that, again, appeal to emotion and not fact," he said about the bill, which passed the Senate easily Thursday.

Gov. Bill Haslam has voiced “major concerns” about the bill taking away local control, and his administration “flagged” the legislation last month to indicate opposition.

“Surely he won’t veto it," said Ramsey, "but I feel confident if he did I guess we could override it.”