McWherter calls Haslam guns stance 'irresponsible' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

McWherter calls Haslam guns stance 'irresponsible'

Bill Haslam, Mike McWherter Bill Haslam, Mike McWherter

By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike McWherter says his opponent Bill Haslam is trying to backpedal on what he called the Republican's "irresponsible" stance on handgun carry permits.

Earlier this week, Haslam told a gun rights group earlier this week that he would sign legislation to drop permit requirements if the measure were passed by the General Assembly. But he stressed to supporters in Memphis on Thursday that ending permits is not part of his campaign platform.

While Halam was meeting with supporters, McWherter was outside blasting away at his comments.

"That means you could have people carrying concealed weapons into shopping malls into shopping centers, into movie theaters," McWherter said.

McWherter told reporters that Haslam is trying to take back his earlier comments after realizing how unpopular it would be to do away with the background checks and safety course requirements for carrying guns in public

"I think this kind of legislation is legislation that is off the cliff," he said.

But when quizzed by reporters Haslam maintained that it's McWherter, who's "off the cliff" with his attack on the gun permit comments.

"That's 100 percent wrong, and I take offense at that," he said.

Haslam clarified his comments, saying that if the legislature deliberated on the permit issue and passed it, as governor he would sign it.

"Well, I will sign it, but again I think also in that process I let it be known that I like the system the way it is now, and I'll let people know that too," he said.

With the election just weeks away each candidate, is accusing the other of political pandering regarding the gun permit issue.  Whether that works or not will be up to Tennessee voters to decide.

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Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.

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