The Tennessee Capitol will continue to prohibit handguns despite a new policy at the new home for state lawmakers that will allow permit holders to have them, Gov. Bill Haslam said this week.
Haslam told reporters Monday he has no intention of proposing a change in policy at the Capitol, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He earlier had released a statement to that effect.
Haslam said he doesn’t want guns at the Capitol because of the numerous tour groups and school children it attracts.
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) announced recently that permit holders will be allowed to carry firearms into the renovated Cordell Hull Building. Lawmakers are in the process of moving into their new offices and the building will open to the public next week.
Lawmakers had tried to get guns allowed at Legislative Plaza, which they are leaving for the Cordell Hull Building. But their attempts failed because of the Haslam administration’s concerns about logistics for security at Legislative Plaza and the desire for it to have the same policy as the Capitol. The legislature last year passed a law giving it oversight of its building, paving the way for a change at the Cordell Hull Building.
The new home for the state legislature will connect to the Capitol with a new underground tunnel, just as Legislative Plaza connected with the Capitol. Haslam said safety officials will have a plan to prevent permit holders going between the two buildings from bringing guns into the Capitol.