Gun group grumbles as ‘constitutional carry’ bills shot down again

In keeping with repeated rejections of so-called “constitutional carry” proposals in past years, the House Civil Justice Subcommittee last week killed two bills that, with some variations, would have allowed Tennesseans to carry concealed weapons without getting a permit.

The bills were HB40 by Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Gray, and HB493 by Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden. (An AP brief on their demise is HERE; a TN Firearms Association review, HERE.)

Both were killed on voice vote, but two members of the seven-member sub had themselves recorded as voting yes on Van Huss’ bill, the more straightforward of the two, and two others – Reps. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, and Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville – both declared they liked the idea, but wanted to wait for more data on crime reduction/increase in 18 states that have adopted “constitutional carry.” In other words, if Daniel and Martin were sold on crime prevention claims, the bill would have passed 4-3.

Lamented John Harris of the Tennessee Firearms Association subsequently in an email to supporters of the group, which backs constitutional carry: “This is the same old shenanigans from the same old group of legislators who have proven repeatedly that they are unwilling to even put these issues to a vote on the respective floors.”

Harris also complained that Gov. Bill  Haslam “dispatched a taxpayer funded administration lobbyist to speak against (Holt’s) bill.”

Note: The reference is to Russell Marty, Haslam “director of legislation,” who appeared briefly at the subcommittee session to declare the administration’s opposition to HB493, even after amendments to eliminate provisions that seemed to call for nullification of federal gun laws and declare that property owners could not block guns from being brought onto their premises.

Further from Harris: “Despite Haslam’s campaign ‘promise’ that he would sign constitutional carry into law, the governor’s minion rose and spoke on the record to remind the committee that the governor opposes constitutional carry!!” (An October, 2010, post on that ‘promise’ is HERE, though it appears the link to audio doesn’t work these days. TFA has a video, posted HERE.)

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