Nashville, Tenn. (March 31, 2015) — Yesterday, the Tennessee state house passed a bill allowing guns in parks, including those where little league and other youth sports are being played. After allowing no debate on the bill, Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell said, “And of course we wanted to show we were supportive of them and their agenda, so yeah, we pushed the bill to today.” Harwell was referring to the NRA and their upcoming conference in Nashville as the impetus to schedule the bill and pass it without debate.

Mary Mancini, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party issued the following statement:

“This is just another example of Republican opportunism. They saw a chance to do the bidding of the NRA and didn’t hesitate. Speaker Harwell didn’t even have the courage to vote no after admitting that her constituents were against the bill. This lack of leadership is a hallmark of her tenure as Speaker.

Let me be clear about something, the Tennessee Democratic Party believes in having an honest, open conversation about guns. Part of that conversation is that we strongly believe that guns have no place in parks, especially in parks when children are present during school activities. We can work together to enact commonsense improvements, but when Republicans kowtow to the NRA by stifling discussions, they make it clear that they are more interested in serving radical special interests than the people of Tennessee.”