Plans to let state handgun-carry permit holders carry their weapons in the Tennessee Capitol complex misfired Wednesday amid apparent disagreement between Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell over how to proceed, reports the Times Free Press.
Tennessee Highway Patrol officials wanted the two top officials to be in agreement before they would consider proceeding, according to Ramsey spokesman Adam Kleinheider.
“They did not agree,” said Kleinheider, who wouldn’t elaborate.
Harwell’s spokeswoman, Kara Owen, said that from Harwell’s “point of view, it’s simply an issue of saving taxpayer dollars as the modifications to the building would have a cost associated with them.”
Owen noted Harwell realizes “we’re not going to be in this building [Legislative Plaza] much longer” with the General Assembly planning on moving in a few years from Legislative Plaza and the adjacent War Memorial Building to the now-vacant Cordell Hull State Office Building.
Because there were expected costs for “things that had to be done” in order to make Legislative Plaza and the Capitol physically capable of handling the situation, Owen said the speaker thought it best to wait until lawmakers are ensconced in Cordell Hull.
Haslam and Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons, who oversees the THP which provides security at Legislative Plaza, War Memorial and the state Capitol building, have been opposed to allowing permit holders to bring their weapons into the complex.
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