Republican Who Wants Guns in Parks and Playgrounds: They're Just Like Bicycles!
A segment of Tennessee Republican lawmakers are crusading for a bill that would override local regulations against allowing guns in public parks. Yesterday, House Republicans held a press conference where the gun issue arose, giving reporters a chance to peppers lawmakers with questions about the bill.
At one point, a reporter asked if they have any concern about accidents, which make up a large percentage of injuries from guns. The lawmaker replied that he isn't all too worried about this because bicycles in parks are just as deadly:
Reporter: I’m not trying to debate, but these are the questions that we’re being asked about this. And one of the things that keep getting pointed out to me, is you guys keep talking about criminals, but there are accidents. Permit holders have accidents.
Reporter: So, if there’s an accident and a permit holder is in a park, there’s a high chance it’s going to hit a child.
Casada: There’s accidents with bicycles in parks. Should we outlaw bicycles?
Reporter: Yeah, but bikes very rarely kill people.
Casada: That's not true, I disagree with that statement.
Reporter: Guns are weapons. Are you saying a gun is as safe as bicycle?
Casada: If used properly I am. If used properly.
Reporter: In the event of an accident, which is more likely to kill someone?
Casada: Now we're back in theoretical. I think in Tennessee we're dealing with a lot more questions than guns in parks. I think this is a minor thing in the scope of what we're doing good in Tennessee.
Reporter: If someone is hit accidently with a bullet, you guys are fine defending this bill?
Casada: If someone gets run over by an automobile accidently, there's nothing I can do about that. These are things beyond, they're called acts of God, they're beyond our control.
For what it's worth, in 2012 around 726 Americans were killed while using their bicycles. Annual gun deaths are closer to 30,000.
The guns-in-parks bill continues to move at the state legislature, and one Senate Democrat successfully attached what may end up being a poison pill to the bill: an amendment that would allow guns into the state capitol itself. “If we're going to pass a law that requires local governments to have guns in their parks, we should apply the same standards to ourselves,” said Senator Jeff Yarbro.