Numerous gun bills head to committee this week!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 10, 2015

Numerous gun-related bills, including “Carry like a Cop” and “No Permit Carry” bills to be heard in both House Civil Justice Subcommittee and Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

While newest CDC data shows Tennessee is 9th in country for accidental firearms deaths, some lawmakers want to further relax state gun laws, allow guns more places.

Nashville – As part of “Gun Week” at the Tennessee Legislature, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from the sponsors of 20+ gun bills today and will vote on whether to advance the bills or “kill” them. The committee convenes at 3:30pm today, Tuesday March 10th. The House Civil Justice Subcommittee will hear the House companion bills tomorrow at 3pm.

Within the last 10 days, there have been two accidental shootings involving Tennessee children.

Yesterday, a gun was found at Franklin High School.

New CDC data from 2013 ranks Tennessee as 9th in the country for accidental firearms deaths (behind 8 other states known for lax gun laws).

Recently, the Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, and American Psychiatric Association, the American Public Health Association, and the American Bar Association (ABA), recently published a position paper on firearms injuries and deaths. In it, they state: “Deaths and injuries related to firearms constitute a major public health problem in the United States.”

Yet, some Tennessee lawmakers want to allow guns in schools, guns in school parking lots, and guns in parks and playgrounds. They want to allow people who have not been trained like police officers and who do not hold badges like police officers to carry guns like police officers.

The Safe Tennessee Project is concerned about any gun-related legislation that could endanger Tennesseans, especially Tennessee children. Most concerning to us are the bills that seek to allow handgun permit holders (8 hours of training) to carry guns into sensitive places such as hospitals, sporting events, churches, and more. We are also concerned about the bills that want to eliminate the permit requirement altogether. Two of the bills involve guns on school campuses. Two want to repeal the provision in current law that allows cities to keep guns out of their parks despite opposition from mayors, police chiefs, and city councils across the state (the bills also notably have the unusual effective date of early April, the week before the NRA convention in Nashville). And, despite the numerous studies that prove background checks save lives, two of the bills want to eliminate them for permit holders.

The Safe Tennessee Project has compiled a list of questions from Tennesseans, including private business owners, about how these bills will affect them. We have submitted the questions to lawmakers in hopes they will be addressed today. The questions are being sent to you along with this press release. Here are the gun bills The Safe Tennessee Project will be watching today in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing:

SB070/HB481 – Guns in School Parking Lots – Will allow any legal owner to keep a gun in their vehicle on school grounds. Legal age to purchase a gun is 18.

SB149/HB173 – Guns in Schools – Will allow any legal gun owner to bring a gun to a non-school function, such as a meeting or booster club dinner, held on school property.

SB628/HB320 – Carry Like a Cop – Will allow anyone with a handgun permit to carry firearms in the same manner as off-duty law enforcement (LEO). Off-duty LEOs are ONLY prohibited from carrying in a school (unless they notify the principal) and places where judicial proceedings are taking place. Therefore, someone with a handgun permit would be able to carry a gun into places such as hospitals, sporting events, music venues, churches, and bars, restaurants or other private business, even if the business is posted as prohibiting weapons.

SB1239/HB1112 – Alien Permits and Background Checks – Will add certain requirements regarding handgun carry permit applications, including requiring an alien or admission number from a noncitizen applicant; will allow a gun dealer to sell a firearm to a handgun carry permit holder without conducting a background check or entering the TBI unique approval number on the transaction record.

SB207/HB240 – No Background Checks for Permit Holders – Will allow a gun dealer to complete a firearms transaction with a handgun carry permit holder without requiring a criminal history record check, if the permit was issued or renewed within five years of the date of transaction.

SB1171/HB995 – Guns in Parks I – Will allow a person with a handgun carry permit to carry a firearm in any state, county, or municipal park or other recreation area; deletes provisions allowing local governments to prohibit carrying in parks by resolution or ordinance. Repeals cities’ ability to opt out of allowing guns in their city parks, playgrounds, or recreation areas.

SB314/HB274 – Guns in Parks II – Will change current law specifically to accommodate the NRA convention attendees. Will remove the local governments to “prohibit by resolution the possession of handguns in parks or recreation areas”. Includes language that includes parks, playgrounds, and also “civic centers, or other building facility, area, or property owned, used, or operated by any municipal county or state government, or instrumentality thereof, for recreational purposes.”

SB774/HB682 – Punish the Posters – Will rewrite the minimum requirements for signs that prohibit firearms, including specific measurements for the letters in the sign, the angle and direction of the slash of “no guns” signs. Will require all posted businesses to get new signs.

SB784/HB684 – “Open Carry Firearms Freedom Act of 2015” – Will delete provision requiring a permit for open carry of a firearm. Will allow anyone carrying a gun openly to do so without a permit. SB780/HB535 – No Permit for Open or Concealed Carry – Will delete any provision that requires a person to obtain a permit prior to carry a firearm, either openly or concealed.

SB1110/HB1341 – Nullification – Will prohibit the use of public funds, personnel, or property to enforce any law or regulation that regulates the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories.

The Civil Justice Subcommittee will meet at 3:00 CST on Wednesday March, 11 in HHR31.                            The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 3:30 CST on Tuesday March 10 in 12LP.

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The Safe Tennessee Project is a non-partisan, volunteer based organization dedicated to addressing the epidemic of gun violence in Tennessee by building awareness about gun safety through community outreach and effective policy advocacy. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter

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