House Committee Hears Testimony On Guns In Statehouse Bill

Mar 15, 2017

A bill allowing legislative staffers to carry guns in the Statehouse took a step further as a House committee heard testimony on the measure.

The proposal expands the list of those allowed to carry inside the state’s capitol building – judges, police and legislators are already allowed to.

Sen. Jim Tomes’ (R-Wadesville) bill has now made it further than a similar bill proposed last session. It would allow full-time employees of the General Assembly to carry guns in the Statehouse. Tomes says it will make it safer for them to walk to and from their vehicles at work.

Mike Evans, a former legislative staffer, testified in favor of the bill. He says he spoke because current employees are barred from lobbying and testifying.

“I do believe that a fair number of them would certainly appreciate the ability to protect themselves in the way that you all currently have,” Evans says.

The bill has a separate provision – allowing people to store guns in their vehicles outside penal facilities.

A law passed in 2010 barred employers – with a few exceptions – from stopping their employees from keeping guns in their vehicles at work. One of those exceptions was penal facilities. Tomes’ bill would eliminate that exception.

He says he wants prison employees to have the same right to protect themselves going to and from work as most other people in the state.

No one testified in opposition to the bill. The House committee will hear amendments and vote on the measure next week.