"Guns in Trunks" bill one step closer to becoming law
It took just minutes to pass, but not everyone is on board.
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- If state lawmakers get their way, gun permit holders will be able to keep their guns in their cars at school or work.
The so-called "Guns in Trunks" bill moved through a house subcommittee Wednesday, making it one step closer to the governor's desk.
Gun rights advocates are cheering it on, but some big businesses are pushing back.
The bill would keep Tennessee businesses, schools and colleges from banning fire arms in their parking lots.
A house subcommittee voted in favor of the bill in just six minutes.
It now heads to the house floor.
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga declined Channel 3's request for an interview, but told Nashville reporters he and colleagues want to put the measure behind them so they can move on to other issues, saying, "We can argue about it and then pass it. Or we can just pass it."
Gun rights advocates are on board.
"You never know what's going to happen," Ellias Baker says. "You always want to be prepared. There's a lot of crime that happens at random times, and you don't want to be caught unarmed."
"What's the big deal one way or another," Paul Larkins says. "To me, if they stay in the car, that's even better."
But others worry about business property rights and security.
"It would make me feel safer if they were not in cars, that's for sure," Kelsi Westfall says. "I don't think it's a good idea for them to be allowed anywhere near a big group of people."
Volkswagen is among the big Tennessee businesses that have opposed the proposal in the past, saying it would hurt security efforts at its Chattanooga plant.
CEO and chairman, Frank Fischer told the Associated Press in 2012, "We would not welcome people being able to carry weapons on factory grounds, probably just as little as the state house or senate would like people to enter their building armed."
When Channel 3 asked for an interview about this latest vote, a spokesperson for VW referred us to the 2012 position, saying the German automaker has nothing to add.
The bill is expected to make its way to the house floor in the next few weeks.
Governor Bill Haslam would then have to sign it.
He has not indicated if he would pass or veto the bill.