Haslam signs guns-in-parks bill

The governor signed the controversial guns-in-parks bill Friday morning.

Gov. Bill Haslam acknowledged he had initial concerns about the bill, but he approves of the latest version that passed the House and Senate.

“Overall I believe the legislation in its final form is a vast improvement from the bill as initially introduced,” Haslam wrote in a letter to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell explaining his decision.

“However, I am concerned that an unintended consequence may be operational challenges for local leaders in managing their parks in a safe, effective and consistent manner, due to events and situations that could not have been anticipated in drafting this law.”

Haslam told reporters Thursday he’d reviewed the legislation and would take action soon.

The bill nixes any local bans on people with handgun permits taking their guns into parks.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has outspokenly criticized the bill. Friday morning he said he didn’t know what the governor planned to do with the legislation.

“I was opposed to the bill, opposed to having guns in parks. And if that becomes the law in the state of Tennessee and our local option is taken away from us, we’ll have to follow the law,” Dean told reporters Friday.

Dean said he planned to work with the Metro legal department to better understand how the law could be enforced.

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