House votes to cut fine for carrying gun without a permit from $500 to $250

The state House voted 70-20 Monday evening  to reduce maximum first-offense penalties for carrying a handgun without a state-issued permit from $500 to $250. The Times Free Press reports the vote came despite criticism from Democrats and concerns from the Haslam administration as well as some law enforcement officials and others.

Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, criticized the measure, saying police “use this as a tool to get a lot of guns off the streets that will later be used in crimes” and blasted as “pathetic” Republicans moving the bill as the nation continues to mourn the fatal shooting of 17 students and faculty at a Parkland, Fla., high school.

“In today’s society, where we are looking for society to make children safer, this bill is setting a poor example,” Mitchell charged.

But Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, argued that the nation has a “heart problem, not a gun problem.”

Current law makes it a Class C misdemeanor to carry a handgun without a permit, which requires a criminal background check and some training. It also provides up to 30 days in jail.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Gray, cuts the fine on first offense to $250 and eliminates the jail penalty, the latter which is evidently rarely used.

…Van Huss’ bill also prohibits police from seizing an unlicensed handgun carrier on first offense. But they added an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, that allows police to take the ammunition fron the weapon.

Note: The bill is HB2586, which was introduced as a caption bill and subsequently amended in House committees. The Senate version is sponsored by Sen. Mark Green (R-Ashland City), who has not yet scheduled a Senate committee vote.

5 Responses to House votes to cut fine for carrying gun without a permit from $500 to $250

  • Avatar
    Leslie Parsley says:

    “Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, argued that the nation has a ‘heart problem, not a gun problem.'”

    Yup. Casada shooting his mouth off instead of using his brain or looking at his reflection in the mirror.

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    Michael Combs says:

    I tried to research bill HB2586 and when I did a search for it, found that it has to do with disrupting a funeral. Any leads on the bill that reduces the fine for carrying a handgun without a state permit? I want to contact my senator about that.


    • Tom Humphrey
      Tom Humphrey says:

      It was filed as a ‘caption bill,’ basically a placeholder to be transformed later — as it was — via amendments. When you go to the bill information page on legislative website, click on ‘amendments’ and you’ll can get the text of the revisions (both House amendments No. 1 and No. 2 were adopted.)

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    Steve L. says:

    Gang members can easily afford $500 and that fine was never a deterrent to criminals. This type of legislation is geared to penalizing LAW ABIDING & TAX PAYING citizens for defending themselves and will not deter the bad folks. So dropping the fine to $250 is good. Best would be no fine if a Gun Carry Permit was submitted to the court within 90 days. Just like a car registration. For those that want to change the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution the lawful way, our Founding Fathers were wise enough to allow that to happen. The 19th Amendment is an example. Passed about 120 years after the Constitution was signed. For those who want to do it illegally….. Move to the EU.

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    Michael Combs says:

    It is so interesting that every time there are efforts to move forward with reasonable gun control that could inhibit gun violence – especially in schools and churches – someone always waves the 2nd amendment as a reason that any adult with enough money can purchase a military assault weapon that would be so very far from something to protect property or for reasonable sport use. No one opposes the 2nd amendment but Steve and those like him forget it was written in 1789 and times have changed dramatically since then, with extremely dangerous and very high-powered weapons being available for easy purchase. Making those purchases easier is definitely the wrong way to go. Those who support making guns more easily available should go back to living in the 1700’s.

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