Governor Haslam To Welcome NRA To Tennessee, Then Step Aside | Nashville Public Radio

Governor Haslam To Welcome NRA To Tennessee, Then Step Aside

Mar 30, 2015

It's the job of the governor to greet the National Rifle Association when 75,000 conventioneers gather for the group's annual meeting. And Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam may have to dig deep to find a positive gun-related anecdote.

Last year, Indiana’s Mike Pence bragged that his wife owned a gun and a motorcycle when he met her. “Love at first sight,” he said.

Two years ago in Texas, Rick Perry showed a highlight reel of him shooting human-shaped targets with a military-style rifle. Haslam probably won't be seen holding a sidearm or leading a Second Amendment cheer.

“We’ll be here to welcome them and let them know we appreciate them coming to Nashville,” Haslam said.

The governor has a difficult past with the NRA, which downgraded him last year to a "C." It was one of the lowest ratings for a Tennessee Republican up for election in 2014.

Haslam characterizes his relationship with the gun lobby as "fine."

"There’s things obviously that they’re going to push for that we may or may not have a different view, but I appreciate their engagement in the process,” he said.

The most recent disagreement with the NRA is over guns in parks and whether cities like Nashville should be able to ban them. State law allows permit holders to carry in parks, but local governments can opt out, which Haslam supports. The gun rights group specifically pushed to repeal the opt-out provision in time for the convention.