This week was a victory for public safety in Tennessee after Republicans caved to pressure from Democratic lawmakers and abandoned a dangerous plan to allow guns in our state Capitol.
Democrats, along with the Safe Tennessee Project, immediately criticized the plan, highlighting the danger it would bring to legislators, staff and the public. We researched what other states had done, and realized that after inviting guns into its Capitol, Texas began allowing legislators to install panic buttons. We followed up with a letter to the attorney general seeking clarity on the authority of each member to refuse admittance to people carrying guns in his or her office.
Yesterday, we called a morning press conference to share emails from the governor's staff revealing another plan to remove the Highway Patrol from our Capitol and replace those officers with a private security firm. After uncovering this unreported plan, Republicans abandoned their attempts to invite guns into the Capitol.
Together, these plans represented a wreckless disregard for the safety of the 36,000 Tennesseans who visit their state Capitol each year. We work in crowded hallways on sensitive issues, and adding guns to the mix is a recipe for disaster.
This is an important victory for people like us who understand we need good public policy to reduce gun violence, not more extremist policies to please the NRA.
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