GOP leaders seek to avoid repeat of gun law fight

by ERIK SCHELZIG, Associated Press  |  published on November 21, 2012


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Leaders in the Tennessee Statehouse are hoping for what they call a reasonable solution to a legislative fight over a bill seeking to guarantee employees the right to store firearms in cars parked at work.

But not everyone is convinced that cooler heads will prevail over the issue that has Republicans torn between their loyalties to gun rights advocates and the business community.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry “doesn’t have any hope” that there will be an obvious way to bridge competing interests between gun and property rights advocates, said Bill Ozier, the group’s chairman.

“We’re preparing for the fight again,” he said. “We’re not very optimistic.”

The measure introduced this spring would have allowed anyone to store a firearm in their vehicle at work. The proposal was later whittled down to apply to the state’s 376,000 handgun carry permit holders. But large employers like FedEx and Volkswagen balked at giving up control over whether guns were kept in their lots.

The failure of the proposal led to angry recriminations between largely pro-gun GOP leaders and the National Rifle Association, which later bankrolled a successful attempt to defeat a top House leader in the August primary.

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