Gun bill would require metal detectors, guards to ban guns at public facilities

TRI-CITIES, TN (WJHL) - The Tennessee Senate has passed a bill with the hope of clarifying gun laws and improving safety.

The law says to ban someone from having a gun on government or city owned property, it has to have either a metal detector installed or a security guard posted.

Republican Senator Jon Lundberg is one of 26 senators to vote "yes" to passing senate bill 445. Five voted against the legislation.

"I think it's a logical, sound policy for Tennessee," Lundberg said.

The bill says cities and counties will be required to either implement more security measures at public facilities or allow gun permit holders to carry their firearms.

Basically saying a "no guns" sign will no longer suffice.

Lundberg says it would improve safety.

"If you're going to say 'firearms are not allowed', you can't just put up a sign. Because the folks who have a handgun carry permit aren't going to bring their weapons in. But the bad folks who frankly don't care about handgun carry permits or about safety in general, are going to ignore that sign. But they're not going to ignore a guard, they're not going to ignore getting by literally, metal detectors," he explained.

Lundberg says Freedom Hall in Johnson City, the Kingsport Aquatic Center, and Viking Hall in Bristol are all places that could be impacted by this bill, should it become law.

There are some exceptions: such as libraries, schools, hospitals, and anywhere police activity is occurring.

This bill also allows for lawsuits to be filed if governments try to ban guns on their properties where the security measures are not in place.

"That entity, that city can be sued and if they do not prevail, then they could face triple attorneys fees to plaintiff, the person that sued them," Lundberg said.

Alex Truelove lives in Johnson City. She sees pros and cons with the bill.

"I think the safety issue could be fixed, but it's going to create a lot of tension with people because they're just so headstrong about carrying their weapon everywhere," Truelove said.

Some Tennessee leaders voiced concerns about the cost. But Lundberg says it is a small price to pay for the safety of everyone.

Governor Bill Haslam has 30 days to sign the bill into law, or not sign it and it will become law without his signature. He could also veto the legislation.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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