guns

Lee to lead efforts to remove handgun carry permit requirement

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his second State of the State address in Nashville on Feb. 3, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)Gov. Bill Lee announced Thursday he will lead efforts to get rid of Tennessee’s requirement to obtain a state-issued permit in order to carry handguns in public.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Gov. Bill Lee announced that he is proposing legislation to advance the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Tennesseans by implementing a Constitutional Carry law.  

“The Second Amendment is clear and concise and secures the freedoms of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “I am pleased to announce Constitutional Carry legislation today that will protect the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans, while also stiffening penalties on criminals who steal or illegally possess firearms. I appreciate Lt. Governor McNally and Speaker Sexton for helping to lead the way on this important issue.”

The governor’s legislation would extend the constitutional right to carry a handgun to all law-abiding citizens with or without a permit who are 21 and older, except in current restricted areas.

The legislation also includes several increased penalties for firearm-related crime to promote public safety including:

  • Increasing the penalty for theft of a firearm to a felony;
  • Providing a sentencing enhancement for theft of a firearm in a car;
  • Increasing the minimum sentence for theft of a firearm from 30 days to 180 days;
  • Increasing the sentences for unlawful possession of a firearm by violent felons and felony drug offenders, possession of a handgun by a felon, and unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or allowing a juvenile to possess a handgun.

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Sethi opposes background checks, red flag laws

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi says he opposes universal background checks for gun purchases. He’s also against so-called red flag laws, which allow judges to issue orders allowing law enforcement to confiscate guns from people found to be a danger to themselves or others.

Here’s Sethi’s tweet about guns:

Sethi is running against former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty for the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander.

 

Lee won’t lift gun ban within state Capitol

Gov.-elect Bill Lee won’t lift the ban on firearms within the state Capitol when he takes office.

That’s according to Sam Stockard over at the Daily Memphian.

“I think the regulations as they are will stand. I’m not going to change that,” Lee said.

As of the start of the year, 628,427 Tennesseans had state-issued permits to carry firearms in public. The state suspended or revoked 2,252 permits for criminal charges or orders of protection in domestic violence cases. Another 2,882 permit applications were denied.

The General Assembly began allowing handgun carry permit holders to bring their firearms into the new Cordell Hull legislative office complex when it opened last year. But outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam maintained the ban within the Capitol.

Permit holders must present themselves to state troopers at the Cordell Hull entrances, and are required to keep their guns holstered all times within the building.

New House Speaker Glen Casada told the publication he sees no reason to change the policy.

“I support the current policy in place allowing citizens to go armed in the Cordell Hull building,” he said. “An armed, law-abiding citizen creates a safer environment for all Tennesseans.”

Democratic state Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis), a former Marine, said Lee’s decision to keep the ban in place is unsurprising.

“I think he wants to keep himself safe,” Parkinson said.

New Dean ad (produced pre-Pittsburgh) takes on mass shootings

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean discusses mass shootings and his opposition to arming teachers and getting rid of permit requirements to carry handguns in public. The ad was filmed before the fatal shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, which the campaign said illustrated once again how “families and communities can be shattered by senseless gun violence.”

“After every mass shooting, my thoughts go to my kids and my wife, Anne, and how devastating this would be for any family,” Dean says in the ad. He goes on to say:

I’m Karl Dean, and we can respect the right to bear arms while protecting our families. But Bill Lee supports concealed carry without a permit, making it hard to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, and he’d let teachers bring guns into the classroom. I’m against permitless carry and arming teachers. It’s a real difference with life-changing consequences.

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Haslam administration awards $35M in school safety funding, grants

Gov. Bill Haslam delivers his final State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam’s office has announced how it will allocate $35 million in school security funding across the state. About $10 million of the money is in the form of recurring funding, while $25 million is in the form of one-time grants.

“We have made security for children at our schools a priority, so there was an urgency to have all schools assessed and the funding allocated to increase school safety as we started the school year,” Haslam said in a release.

The grants will allow school districts to make various security enhancements, including better door locks, improved visitor screening procedures and shatter-resistant glass. Some districts are using grants to improve mental health services for students and to pay for school counselors and child psychologists. Additional local funding has led to 213 new school resource officers to be hired around the state.

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NRA endorses Blackburn, Bredesen touts A rating as governor

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn speaks at a business forum in Nashville on Aug. 15, 2018 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Republican Marsha Blackburn in the U.S. Senate race and is lashing out at Democrat Phil Bredesen for pointing out his A rating from the gun rights group when he was a candidate for governor in 2006 and 2002.

“Tennesseans know they can count on me to be consistent in my support for their rights and freedoms,” Blackburn said in a release.

Bredesen promptly released a new TV ad in which his discusses being a lifelong hunter and gun owner.

The NRA called on Bredesen to retract the ad, though it’s unclear what exactly is untruthful about it (the group says Bredesen has a D in its current ranking, but Bredesen speaks only about his time as governor when he had the A). The NRA’s Chris Cox said: “Phil Bredesen opposes the constitutional freedoms of law-abiding gun owners and would be a rubber stamp for Chuck Schumer’s gun control agenda in Washington, D.C. He can’t be trusted to defend our Second Amendment rights.”

 

Black TV ad: Boyd partnered with’anti-hunting extremist’ group

 

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NRA endorses Diane Black for governor

Press release from NRA Political Victory Fund

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) today endorsed Rep. Diane Black for governor in the Tennessee Republican Primary Election. Black is the only Tennessee gubernatorial candidate with an “A” rating and perfect record on Second Amendment issues.

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MTSU poll finds increase in support for stricter gun laws among TN voters

Press release from Middle Tennessee State University

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Support for stricter laws on gun sales has jumped to 58 percent among Tennessee registered voters, according to an MTSU Poll taken during the same week as the “March for Our Lives” demonstrations in Washington D.C. and around the country.

The latest level of support represents a 24-point climb from the 34 percent support measured two years ago using the same question. Support for stricter laws on carrying guns has risen, too, from 34 percent two years ago to 46 percent now, a rise of 12 points.

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Tennessee bump stock ban scuttled in committees without discussion

A Democrat-sponsored bill to outlaw bump stocks in Tennessee died without discussion Tuesday in Republican-controlled committees of the state House and Senate.

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