AG won’t opine on Knoxville gun ban

State Attorney General Herbert Slatery will not issue an opinion on the ban of guns at Chilhowee Park during the Tennessee Valley Fair last month, reports the News-Sentinel.

Rep. Eddie Smith, R-Knoxville, said he got a message Monday afternoon from the AG’s office stating that no opinion will be issued because the AG’s office does not want to influence litigation already underway.

Last week a Loudon resident filed suit in Knox County Circuit Court asking for the court to affirm her right to carry a concealed handgun in Chilhowee Park. The suit was backed by the National Rifle Association.

“They want the courts to decide this issue,” Smith told the Farragut Gun Club on Monday.

Smith said he is concerned that as a society we are moving towards “no absolutes” where laws are interpreted rather than followed.

“The law says you can carry a gun in a park,” he said. “Are we a nation of laws or are we a nation of opinions?”

Smith and other local representatives requested the AG opinion last month after Mayor Madeline Rogero said guns could not be carried at the Tennessee Valley Fair. Smith said he did not feel that ongoing litigation should be a reason not to give an opinion.

Sen. Richard Briggs was also at the Farragut meeting Monday night. He said he really does not disagree with the AG decision to not issue an opinion.