Legislation to block local governments from banning guns in city and county parks has cleared its first committee hurdle despite opposition from officials of the state's largest cities and counties as well as Gov. Bill Haslam.

Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, won approval of his bill from the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-2 vote late Tuesday after attaching an amendment that declares that local gun bans can still be enforced when school activities — a high school baseball game, for example — are underway at a city or county park.

Campfield said the current state law, which allows cities and counties to decide whether guns are allowed in parks they operate, has created "a patchwork of laws that can vary not just from city to city or park to park but in some cases from step to step."

In some local parks, he said, weapons may be carried by handgun permit holders in hiking areas, but not in recreational areas. In others, city and county parks may adjoin with different rules in the two jurisdictions.

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