NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nothing says Nashville louder than live music, but since April, Metro leaders have been voicing their concerns about a recent state law that no longer allows cities to opt out of allowing concealed carry in public parks like the new Ascend Amphitheater.
Metro had opted out of the previous 2008 law allowing guns in public parks across the state.
“It threatens the safety of families and anyone else who enjoys public parks,” said Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D Nashville).
With a Republican super-majority, the bill passed with little opposition and went into effect in April. Gun proponents said it was about safety.
“These companies that want to run those facilities (at the amphitheater) they’re not providing security all the way to the parking areas,” said Tennessee Firearms Association Executive, Director John Harris III. He also said gun permit holders are taxpayers and should be allowed to carry their weapons on public property their taxes support.
Yet, two democratic lawmakers hosted a round table earlier this month to hear from law enforcement and music industry folks who weren't happy about what they call a dangerous piece of legislation.
Clemmons and Sen. Lee Harris (D Memphis) have offered an amendment.
“This legislation is a direct result from feedback we got within the community,” Rep Clemmons said.
It would restrict guns in public parks if the park is hosting a ticketed event. They said those can be sports games.
“Little league ball games are not somewhere we need firearms,” Rep. Clemmons said.
They also cover concerts that serve alcohol, which Clemmons says doesn't mix well with guns.
“This is just a common sense solution to an otherwise bad bill,” Clemmons said.
Harris agreed that alcohol and guns should not be used together. But he offered a different solution.
“Maybe the better solution is to get rid of the alcohol and let law abiding citizens provide for their own defense,” he said.
The amendment also clarified that guns are restricted from professional sporting events like the Titans and Predators games, which was cause for confusion in the original bill.
After years of back and forth on the issue, it's a gun fight that's not over yet. Lawmakers will reconvene in January.
To view the full amendment click here.