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VOL. 36 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 13, 2012




Volkswagen speaks out against guns in parking lots

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NASHVILLE (AP) - The head of Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant is speaking out against a bill pending in the Tennessee General Assembly to strip employers of the right to ban firearms on company property.

The proposal headed for vote in a House committee on Tuesday morning would allow people to store legally-owned firearms in vehicles parked at work - regardless of their employers' wishes.

"That's a sort of thing that makes us a bit nervous," Frank Fischer, the CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday.

The guns-in-parking-lots measure is a rare instance where the German automaker has been at odds with Tennessee lawmakers, he said.

"On the whole, the cooperation and mutual understanding has been excellent," Fischer said in German. "The only thing we see critically as a company is the guns law.

"We would not welcome people being able to carry weapons on factory grounds , probably just as little as the state House or Senate would like people to enter their building armed."

Fischer and other VW executives on Monday hosted a reception in Nashville for state lawmakers and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

Supporters of the measure backed by the National Rifle Association say they consider vehicles an extension of workers' private property, even if they are parked on company lots. But the governor and Republican speakers of the House and Senate have argued that the proposal is too broad.

The Senate version sponsored by Sen. Mike Faulk of Kingsport would limit the bill to people who have either a state-issued handgun carry permit or a state hunting license.

Acquiring a handgun carry permit involves a training course and background check, while any state resident can order a hunting license off the Internet for $27.

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