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Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee)
NASHVILLE - A bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee would fly in the face of the gun policies of nearly every major sporting venue in Tennessee, potentially pitting the Legislature against some of the state's most popular sports teams.
All major sporting venues across the state prohibit weapons inside those facilities, but the Senate committee passed a bill that would allow off-duty police officers and sheriff's deputies to carry their weapons in those facilities if they notify the stadium in advance.
Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate and said the measure is "common sense."
Specifically, the bill would prevent any law enforcement officer with a ticket from being denied entry, and the owner or operator of the facility can require notification, which would have to be posted at the facility
More than once, committee members said there could be occasions where the off-duty officers encounter people they have arrested previously, saying in those instances it would be good for them to be armed.
Nissan Stadium and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Neyland Stadium in Knoxville and the FedEx Forum in Memphis all prohibit weapons inside the venue and don't make clear if there are already exceptions for off-duty law enforcement officers. Finley Stadium in Chattanooga also prohibits weapons.
Metro Nashville owns Nissan Stadium and Bridgestone. Requests for comment from Metro government weren't immediately returned. The NFL bans guns at all NFL games.
The measure passed the committee on a party line vote, 7-2, with the two Democrats on the committee voting against the measure. Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, said his problem with the bill was more with ticketed events at private residences, where the homeowner might not want guns in their home.
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