TN lawmakers stick to party lines on gun control

NASHVILLE, TN (WMC) - Tennessee lawmakers--both Republicans and Democrats--spoke out after Wednesday's mass shooting in Florida.

Various gun bills have been up for discussion this week in Nashville. Thursday talking on gun control, Republicans and Democrats stuck to party lines.

"It's a school shooting; it's a tragedy. Really we shouldn't be really discussing it right now. When we do, when the tragedies happen with vehicles and people are mowed down with vehicles, there's not this rush to really legislate something about automobiles," Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) said.

Williams said that Thursday after Democrats in the state called for a closer look at guns laws in light of the latest school shooting in Florida.

State Democrats said every time a mass shooting happens, they're always told it's not the right time to discuss gun control.

"We were shut down, we couldn't speak because someone stood up and blocked our voice from being heard. That person wants to send prayers, thoughts and prayers to those families in Parkland, Florida," Rep. Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) said.

Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) said he's fed up with lawmakers who send thoughts and prayers to victims and their families but never actually do anything to address the problem.

Just Wednesday, gun control advocates were in Nashville to formally protest legislation that would allow permit holders to carry virtually anywhere in Tennessee such as state agencies or private businesses that bar guns--even in schools, if the carrier gives advance notice.

The Parkland shooting happened during that hearing.

The subcommittee killed the proposal, but advanced one that would let businesses allow concealed carry but not open carry.

They put off decisions on bills to permit firearm carrying in public areas of airports outside of secure zones and prohibit government entities from refusing to make property available for gun shows.

"Let's set politics aside. Let's solve a problem in our society. Let's save children's lives in our country," Mitchell said.

"There have been mass murders with knives, with guns, with bombs. Why the fixation on guns? I don't know," Casada (R-Thompson Station) said.

WMC Action News 5 reached out to the Arkansas legislature, and we were told the shooting was mentioned in prayer but not discussed on the house floor.

Mississippi GOP members posted on twitter their sincere thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected.

WMC5 reached out to Mississippi Democrats but did not hear back.

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