In an attempt to resolve the so called “guns-in-parking lots” issue that was the bane of former Tennessee House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville), Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) is attempting to fashion a bill in the form of House Bill 118 that would allow concealed-carry permit holders to legally keep their firearms in the parking lot at work. Faison, however, said this week that he is still getting angry calls and letters about the legislation, and the reason is because the bill legally allows a permit-holder to keep their firearm in their car at work, but if a company has a “no weapons” policy and they find out, there is also nothing in the legislation that prevents that company from firing such an employee.
Representative Faison says he thinks that the same principles of freedom that would encourage Tennessee to pass a bill that would legally allow permit-holding employees to store their weapons in their vehicles also allows for business owners to make rules for their businesses and to hire and fire employees at their discretion and choosing. “Anyone who knows me knows how deeply I believe in the Second Amendment,” Faison told The Examiner, “and I’m going to do my part to make sure that citizens’ rights are protected. It is not my place or the place of the General Assembly to dictate hiring, firing, or disciplinary policy to a business.” Representative Faison said that he believes that the State plays a role in protecting rights, but that the rights of property owners and businesses have to be taken into consideration. “It is right, in my opinion, for us to make it legal for permit holders to keep their guns in their cars, but we can’t tell businesses that they can’t make rules of their choosing.” Faison says he believes that his legislation, the companion for which is being sponsored by Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) in the Senate (where it has already passed), is the right approach.
“I know that there will be some who disagree with me on this approach, and I understand that risk,” Faison said, “but I believe that I am doing the right thing with this bill, and the right thing is what I try to do regardless of the political consequences.”