[Vision2020] House bill bans fake guns — not real guns — near schools
thansen at moscow.com
Wed Apr 8 18:33:01 PDT 2015
Courtesy of The Tennesseean (Nashville, TN) at:
House bill bans fake guns — not real guns — near schools
The Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill Monday night that makes it illegal to take a squirt gun — but not a real gun — within 150 feet of a school.
The new ban was included in a larger bill that would nix any local laws prohibiting people with gun permits from taking guns to parks.
The federal "Guns Free School Zones" act makes it illegal for anyone who doesn't have a permit from taking a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. If that person has a permit from the state in which the school is located, though, they can take the gun near school property, the law states.
The change to the House bill came in the form of an amendment from Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin. It was the only amendment approved by the House, which voted to have debate on the bill itself before approving the measure by a 65-21 margin.
The amendment says the state doesn't need to pay to remove signs that say guns are banned in parks. However, it also includes a list of new items that are banned within 150 feet of a school.
"A person commits an offense who intentionally carries an explosive, explosive weapon, permanently disabled firearm, hoax device, imitation firearm, machete, or sword openly within one hundred fifty feet (150') of the real property that comprises the grounds or facilities of a public or private preschool, elementary school, middle school, or secondary school," the amendment states in part.
At no point does the amendment mention any ban on real guns near schools; real guns don't fall under the definition of "explosive weapon," confirmed House Republican spokesman Cade Cothren.
"The provision pertains only to those who intentionally carry an explosive, explosive weapon, permanently disabled firearm, hoax device, imitation firearm, machete, or sword," Cothren said.
Cothren noted the federal "Gun Free School Zones" act as to why real guns were not included in the amendment.
There's no need to include real guns in the amendment because it is already covered. The amendment added additional weapons to the list that aren't covered under other areas of state and federal law," he said.
Bill sponsor Rep. Mike Harrison, R-Rogersville, noted that he thought the amendment was included to address a particular situation in Nashville.
Leonard Embody, nicknamed the "Radnor Lake Rambo," has frequently scared schools and caused police to be called by walking around near schools with a bulletproof vest and a weapon. He's argued it's his right to make such a demonstration.
"That would I think keep situations like that from happening," Harrison said.
However, The Tennessean has reported that Embody has carried an AR-15, a large rifle, when he's around schools. If the gun is operational and he has a permit for the weapon, the new state amendment wouldn't apply.
If he carried a fake gun, he would be breaking the new law.
The portion of law this bill changes also makes no reference to a ban on real guns within 150 feet of a school. The law does ban guns on property owned or used by a school, with several exceptions, including one for parents who keep a gun in their cars when they go to pick up their children.
The bill faced some debate in committee, but House Democrats wanted to debate the bill on the House floor. They proposed amendments to the bill, but at no point were the amendments seriously debated. House Majority Whip Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, called for the final vote immediately after a GOP supporter of the bill gave a quick speech about the measure, leaving no room for debate.
"The idea that we didn't debate the bill isn't accurate," Durham said. There were 11 Democratic amendments.
"We waited until they had finished to call the question," Durham said Tuesday.
"I'm not sure we've debated any other bill this year as long as we took for that bill. The only thing left to do at that point was grandstand."
House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, voted "present." She said she doesn't expect Gov. Bill Haslam, who opposes the bill, to veto the legislation because the House would likely override that decision.
The Senate is set to vote on its version of the law Wednesday. If adopted and Haslam doesn't veto, the law is set to take effect "upon becoming a law." Harwell acknowledged the original bill set April 6 as the effective date, an unusual time for a bill to take affect, because the National Rifle Association has its annual conference April 10-12 in Nashville.
The bill could still become law ahead of the NRA event.
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But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill."
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