GOP lawmakers seek to back away from 'fringe'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Before a House vote to give final approval to a contentious firearms bill last week, Speaker Beth Harwell implored her Republican colleagues to ignore demands from what she deemed "fringe" groups to make major changes to the measure.

The chamber took Harwell's advice and passed the guns-in-parking-lots bill without any changes. Lawmakers have also in recent weeks drawn the line at proposals to bypass the federal government by allowing the creation an independent health care network and stopped a proposal to ban the enforcement of federal firearms laws in Tennessee.

The failure of those two bills signals a new willingness among the GOP supermajority to reel in some of the more extreme measures before they reach a floor vote, where lawmakers might have a harder time voting against them.

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