Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris and state Rep. John Ray Clemmons released the following statements in response to a new policy allowing guns in legislative plaza.
"According to media reports, members of the public will soon be allowed to bring loaded weapons to Legislative Plaza," Sen. Harris said. "The presence of armed, possibly untrained individuals in the crowded hallways of Legislative Plaza creates potential for risk for members, staff and visitors. The risks of discharge are arguably even greater in offices, where confines are tight and there is usually only one means of egress.”
"Democrats represent 31 members, and to our knowledge, none of us were consulted. We are responsible for our staff and our families and invited guests. We will be reaching out to Gov. Haslam, the attorney general, the Tennessee Highway Patrol for their input on this new policy.
"We will also be speaking with parents and educators in our districts," state Rep. John Ray Clemmons said. "With an unlimited number of loaded weapons moving throughout the packed plaza on any given day, we are seriously concerned for the safety of thousands of children who visit the Legislative Plaza each year.
"Despite the NRA talking points on guns, introducing loaded weapons to a crowded space like this poses an unnecessary risk. Although most permit holders are law-abiding citizens, there are too many unintentional shootings by permit holders.