Guns in parking lots bill inches closer to passing

Guns in parking lots bill inches closer to passing

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"If it's in their trunk, I think that's their business," Dead End BBQ owner Neal Kelly said. "If it's in their trunk, I think that's their business," Dead End BBQ owner Neal Kelly said.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The proposal that would ensure Tennessee handgun owners can store their guns in parked cars is making progress this year, passing this week in the state Senate and in a House subcommittee.

The bill would allow licensed gun holders to carry firearms in their car trunks or glove boxes in any school or business parking lot.

"If it's in their trunk, I think that's their business," Dead End BBQ owner Neal Kelly said.

Many small businesses along Sutherland Avenue including Dead End BBQ told 6 News they supported the initiative.

Kelly said as long as the gun does not enter his restaurant, he doesn't feel it's a threat.

"I'd have no reason to wonder whether someone was possessing a gun in the privacy of their vehicle, whether it be in their trunk or anywhere else in their car," Kelly said.

But some opponents said the law takes away the right of a business owner to choose his or her own policies.

The Knoxville Commerce of Chamber wants business owners to be allowed to choose whether to ban guns in their parking lots.

Joe Kamah, owner of Express Auto Center on Sutherland Ave, said he worries the bill would put everyone in harm's way.

"It's something that could potentially create more crimes," Kamah said. "Having a gun around them would make them more hostile whether it's a customer, a business owner, whatever it is."

There is an amendment to the bill that would allow business owners to apply for a waiver to be exempt from the law.

The waiver would be granted based on the nature of the business, the number of employees, the size of the location and the parking areas available.

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