Over objections from law enforcement officials, Tennessee lawmakers moved forward with Gov. Bill Lee's controversial proposal to allow residents to carry guns without obtaining a permit.
With a 7-2 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill, which would allow for both open and concealed carrying of handguns for Tennesseans 21 years old and older.
Minutes after the Senate's actions, a House committee similarly considered the bill, hearing from a few speakers, but delayed a vote.
The measure contains a provision that would extend the right to military members who are 18- to 20-years-old.
Tennesseans who legally want to buy a handgun would still have to pass the federal background check, although there are some loopholes to the requirement.
The committee's approval signals the measure's passage could be significantly easier than in the past. In 2016, the committee narrowly rejected a similar proposal. As the judiciary committee considered the measure Tuesday, proponents and opponents were in the audience, with some providing testimony during an hour-long discussion.
Advocates of the legislation, including the governor and legislative leadership, say the proposal will make Tennessee safer because it includes increased penalties for those who obtain or use weapons illegally.
But critics, which have included some prosecutors and law enforcement officials, raised their own safety concerns, noting the legislation eliminates the requirement for gun owners to undergo training.
Maggi Duncan, executive director of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, said Tuesday the bill creates worries over officer and resident safety.
Duncan noted the new proposal would also end the state's ability to deny those seeking to obtain a permit due to a host of disqualifying reasons. She said last year alone, the state had 53,000 permit request denials due mental defects.
Jeff Hughes, chief of Brentwood's police department, said, "I’m personally concerned about my officers on the street."
Shaundelle Brooke, the mother of Akilah DaSilva, who was killed in the 2018 Waffle House shooting, said the permitless carry legislation would allow others "disturbed" individuals, like Travis Reinking, to carry weapons in public.
Matt Herriman, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, made a host of arguments, including saying people prohibited from buying a firearm would still not be allowed. He did not elaborate on the claim.
Herriman further argued the legislation would put legal gun owners on equal footing with criminals who are carrying weapons illegally.
No one from the governor's office spoke on behalf of the legislation.
The committee's approval comes less than a week after a mass shooting in Milwaukee left six people dead. It now heads to the Senate finance committee.
When the House Constitutional Protections and Sentencing Subcommittee took up the measure Tuesday afternoon, the panel opted to delay voting on it for at least another week.
Now just for one moment think about that one. Okay done. Really? This is insane and again another tick on the barometer of crazy that defines Tennessee. The tornado was one sign that I am glad I am gone but imagine with pistol packing mamas hyped up over the looters, the kids who already have guns stolen from all the cars they break into or carjack and in turn shoot and kill anyone who says no, sounds great. Sounds really really great. Guns are confiscated from children almost daily from the Nashville public schools with the students saying that they have it for protection so now at least they will be able to validate that because everyone will need a gun to protect themselves. This is from a Google search Nashville School Confiscates gun. A lot there to process and I walked into those dumpsters daily always afraid and with good reason. Really think that is normal for a 4th grader to possess a gun? A 10th grader? And gosh even good old white Iowa home of the caucus has issues. Good to know so much for these bible carrying, christian value states and sanity. Now true we have a problem but what I find is the moral superiority and finger pointing to those who do not share the same convoluted bullshit values as the problem. Guess not!
So lets just review the mass shootings of the past few days/weeks/months/years: Oh fuck it here is a link to Vox who analyzed the problem of mass shootings. And again remember this is what is defined as more than 4 dead at a time. So we have many many more with fewer numbers so I can see this Tennessee thing working out super super great. And here we are just entering month three of the year and so far we have had 62 people killed, 184 wounded in 47 mass shootings. And this from CBS News: There were more mass shootings than days in 2019. And California in 2019 had three mass shootings in a under a week, that will get rid of those liberals! And Chicago had this last weekend 26 shot some accidental some not. Again blame "The Blacks."
The word "safe" which is used so voraciously and in every scenario is in and of itself a safe word. I have never heard it here ever to my knowledge and yet we have some serious shit in the tri state area but again people here make the presumption (not assumption as that is well more of a Southern thing) that you live here you know the risks. Shit the Subways have never been cleaner and that is a low bar but that is something.
And this is what it is all about in Tennessee black people. The end. All the laws from Voter Suppression to Anti LGBQT ones is to ensure that the powers that be spread the hate across the spectrum of marginalized communities to make it look less like racial bias and prejudice to just overall bullshit and overall hate for anyone not White, not Male, not Christian and not married to a Christian in a conventional church marriage where it excuses the men for abusing wives and children, while excusing their sexual depravity. Three years of living there and when the tornado actually brought out the best in the community that says something.
But again this is a state against sanctuary cities for Immigrants seeking refuge but gun carriers, not a problem!
Why are Northeast Tennessee counties declaring themselves 'Second Amendment Sanctuaries'?
Jonathan Roberts • Jan 29, 2020 at 7:48 PM
East Tennessee has, in essence, declared itself a “Second Amendment sanctuary” region.
Since June, all 12 counties in Tennessee’s First Congressional District have passed variations of “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions, in addition to roughly a dozen other counties across the state. More than 40 others are working on passing their own measures, which seek to prevent the passage and implementation of new gun legislation.
But why, in a state with a Republican supermajority in its legislature and a Republican governor at the helm, are counties rushing to protect themselves from what they see as an infringement of their Second Amendment rights? It stems from a bill introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly in February which would authorize the use of extreme risk protection orders, a bill commonly known as a ‘’red flag law.’’
“The real reason for (passing the resolution) was that we want our state legislators — and everyone in Nashville — to hear us in East Tennessee and know that we don’t want our Second Amendment rights infringed on,” said Sullivan County Commissioner Gary Stidham, who sponsored his county’s resolution. “While a lot of people have a lot of good reasoning behind these extreme risk protection orders, we just had a very strong — and I had a very strong — feeling that this is chipping away at our Second Amendment rights.
“We just had to be very cautious because once you start losing those rights, it's very hard to pull those back in.”
Kent Harris, the commissioner who sponsored Washington County’s resolution, also pointed to red flag laws as the driving force behind his resolution, calling it “a slippery slope.”
“Nobody’s saying that we don’t need to follow what laws we do have, but some of these new ones, (red flag laws) being one of them — the only people those laws are going to affect are people like myself that are law-abiding citizens,” Harris said.
In Johnson County, the resolution that was passed specifically calls on state Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, and state Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, to oppose two previous iterations of a red flag law, which was sent to a committee in February.
What are extreme risk protection orders?
Generally speaking, extreme risk protection orders would allow a judge to temporarily remove a gun or guns from someone who shows an immediate risk of harming themselves or others.
Last week, a pair of Tennessee lawmakers introduced a version of the bill that would allow any family member, household member, intimate partner or law enforcement officer to file a petition for emergency protection against somebody believed to be a risk.
“We absolutely support red flag laws,” said Jessica Joyner of the Tri-Cities Moms Demand Action chapter. “A red flag law is an extreme risk protection order and so many people don’t break that down,” Joyner said. “It’s just giving law enforcement the ability to assist families in the removal of weapons while due process occurs.”
Under the proposed House bill (HB1873), sponsored by state Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, the petitioner would have to sign a sworn affidavit, which would then be heard by a judge. Should a judge grant the emergency protection order, the person in question would be barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm for the duration of the order, which will be revisited after 30 days and may not last more than one year. The Senate version of the bill (SB1807), which is sponsored by state Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, has similar language.
“It’s put on law enforcement — this isn’t your neighbor coming and taking your guns and being the law,” Joyner said, pushing back on a frequent talking point of critics. “We would love to see our representatives sponsoring some of those laws.”
What do lawmakers say about red flag laws?
While red flag laws have some bipartisan support in Tennessee, Tri-Cities lawmakers are not in favor of them.
In separate statements to the Press, state Sens. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, and Lundberg joined their colleges in the state House in voicing opposition to the proposed bills, with all saying they believe the bills violate a person’s due process rights.
Crowe called the legislation “an unconstitutional Trojan Horse to open the door to comprehensive firearm registration and confiscation,” while Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, said that he is against “any legislation that limits the God-given constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms,” but that he will “continue to focus on improving safety while preserving our Second Amendment rights.”
In a Facebook Live video posted on Monday, Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, also voiced opposition to the proposed bills, and said he will “stand in support for the Second Amendment” and expand those rights every chance he gets.
Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, said the Second Amendment “makes all states sanctuaries from federal infringement on citizens’ right to keep and bear arms.”
What effect will the sanctuary resolutions have?
Legally, the resolutions do not change any local laws or how laws are enforced — even the resolutions that go beyond simply affirming its residents’ Second Amendment rights have no legal recourse for enforcement.
“What I think is interesting is this is sort of uncharted territory,” said Colin Glennon, a political scientist and pre-law adviser at East Tennessee State University. “Most states, Tennessee and Virginia included, have some sort of the language which says local municipalities can pass laws and things, but, overwhelmingly, state law takes precedent.
“One of things that’s an interesting point that some critics make of these (resolutions) is that, mostly, they’re meaningless, and if that was the end of it, they’d be harmless,” Glennon said, “but the actual harm is that it causes confusion for residents, who become unaware of what state laws mean.”
For the most part, the East Tennessee counties that have passed sanctuary resolutions have passed ones that do little more than formally state their opposition to new gun legislation. Some counties, however, go a step further and explicitly state they will not use public funds for the enforcement of any new gun laws. In East Tennessee, two counties — Jefferson and Unicoi — have added such language. Harris said that he would have liked to add similar language to Washington County’s resolution, and that he may attempt to pass an updated resolution in the future.
“It’s not legally binding, we all know that,” said Unicoi County Commissioner Todd Wilcox, who wrote the county’s resolution stating that public funds won’t be used for the enforcement of new gun laws. “We’ll see what happens with that if it even comes to that, but I’m sure what would happen — if I had to guess — I’m sure the county attorney would say it’s not legally binding, so we would have no ground to stand on withholding funding.”
Wilcox said that the funding measure was added to show the seriousness of their opposition, and not to be utilized as an actual legal measure. Representatives from Jefferson County could not be reached for comment.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, also voiced support for the counties passing resolutions, saying he “understand(s) why counties are pushing back against what they see as a threat to their constitutionally-guaranteed rights.”
“If it’s OK for local governments to not enforce our immigration laws, it’s hard for me to see why Second Amendment sanctuary laws wouldn’t be OK,” Roe said. “I will continue to strongly defend the Second Amendment, and hope that attempts to unnecessarily limit this right are defeated.”
Despite the lack of legal authority, Glennon sees the resolutions as being a useful way to make a strong, countywide statement.
“I do think, to be fair, if we ask, ‘is there value’ — even if they are meaningless — and it’s just making a statement, then sure, there’s value in that and it’s a strong declaration, so there can still be value there even if, legally speaking, they may not mean that much,” Glennon said.
I am out.. in more ways than one. So now I am going to abstain and pray the coronation virus away!