Gun Rights Must be Honored by Private Companies in Tennessee Parks

A private organization operating a public park in Tennessee can’t stop licensed handgun permit holders from carrying their weapons into an event, according to a new opinion from the Tennessee attorney general.

The opinion seems to apply to events at Nashville’s new Ascend Amphitheater and for next year’s Memphis in May celebration. Both take place at public parks but are organized and operated by private organizations.

Although state lawmakers passed a new law that says cities and counties can’t stop legal gun carriers from taking their guns to public parks, organizers of Memphis and Nashville events told The Tennessean they planned to ban guns. The new attorney general opinion says they are not allowed to ban those guns when carried by legally licensed permit holders.

“Since counties and municipalities cannot use direct means to prohibit handgun possession by individuals with valid handgun carry permits in their parks, they cannot use indirect means — such as contracting with nonprofit entities to disallow the possession of such handguns in their parks or other recreational facilities,” states the opinion from Attorney General Herbert Slatery.

“Since a county or municipality no longer has the authority to prohibit handgun carry permit holders from possessing handguns in public parks and other recreational facilities, a county or municipality cannot convey or delegate any such authority to anyone else, either directly or indirectly.”