Today, the House Civil Justice Subcommittee will meet at 3:30. A couple of gun bills are scheduled to be heard.
HB1341 – seeks to prohibit the use of any public funds, personnel, or property to enforce any federal law or regulation that regulates the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories.
While we vehemently disagree with this bill and what it seeks to do, Article Six, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution (the “supremacy clause”) establishes the United States Constitution, federal statutes, and treaties as “the supreme law of the land.” It provides that these are the highest form of law in the United States legal system, and mandates that all state judges must follow federal law when a conflict arises between federal law and either a state constitution or state law of any state.
HB943 – seeks to make “exploding targets” legal. Exploding targets are binary explosives, which means an explosive consisting of two components, neither of which is explosive by itself, but which have to be mixed in order to become explosive. Tannerite is a popular brand. This bill sailed through the Senate Judiciary last week. Committee members laughed about how fun it is to blow stuff up and said that these explosives are not dangerous. However, a simple google search of “exploding target injuries” or “Tannerite injuries” reveals that these explosive are in fact quite dangerous, maiming and even killing people. They are also concerning to the FBI for their domestic terror applications and to firefighters who have seen them start wild fires.
HB481 – seeks to clarify that it is not an offense for a person to transport and properly store a firearm in a motor vehicle parked on school property. The actual language of the bill states that it would be legal for a person to transport and store a firearm or ammunition while on or using a parking area located on property, owned, used, or operated by a school.
Last week, the senate version of this bill passed easily through the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill sponsor said that the bill only applied to employees of public colleges and universities. It was pointed out by another member of the committee that the bill’s language in no way made that specification. The sponsor would not amend the language to address this. Then, a representative from the UT Board of Regents testified in opposition to the bill, stating that they unequivocally oppose the idea of allowing guns on college campuses, be it employees or students.
Do you, like us at The Safe Tennessee Project, believe that the only guns that should be at our children’s schools – elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary – are those in the hands of trained law enforcement officers?
Another interesting development…Last fall during dismissal time, a man dressed in a bullet proof vest with a rifle and handgun stalked up and down the sidewalk of Hillsboro High School, roughly 150-100 feet from the front door of the school. As the current law is written, his actions were legal. As kids were dismissed, parents received panicked calls from their children asking them whether or not they should leave the building with the gunman standing in front of the school. I am thankful that another gun owner, assuming a threat, did not engage the man in a shootout.
As all the bills were being filed earlier this year, we were thrilled to see a bi-partisan bill filed to address this exact issue. The sponsors were Senator Steve Dickerson (who represents the Green Hills, Oak Hill area) and Representative Harold Love.
The bill, SB1245/HB1316 says:
As introduced, creates the Class A misdemeanor offense of intentionally carrying certain weapons and devices openly within 250 feet of the real property of a public or private preschool, elementary school, middle school, or secondary school with certain exceptions.
Great, right? Lawmakers reaching across the aisle, working together on legislation that would keep kids safe! But, before you start feeling good… the bill was taken off notice (meaning it’s done) last week before it was heard in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. I contacted Sen. Dickerson, who is my senator, to ask why. He told me that after talking to the members of the committee, he knew he didn’t have the votes to pass it and decided not to put it up for a vote.
You got that, right? There were not going to be enough votes to pass a bill that would have made it a class A misdemeanor to parade around the perimeter of a school with a rifle slung across your back while you’re decked out in a bullet proof vest. And, because Dickerson didn’t want to give the gunman any “notoriety”, he decided to not even make the committee members go on record with a vote.
But, currently there are most likely enough votes to pass a bill to allow “guns in trunks” on school campuses statewide.
That’s where we need your help.
W H A T C A N I D O ?
Call the members of the House Civil Justice Subcommittee TODAY! Right now before they meet at 3:30–
Tell them to please vote “NO” on HB481 because you think that schools and guns to do not mix.
Tell them that you agree with the UT Board of Regents and other education professionals who oppose these bills. And, ask them why HB1316, a bi-partisan, common sense bill that would have kept gunmen in bullet proof vests away from school campuses, did not get even get a vote in committee last week. Ask them how they would’ve voted had the bill been presented.
House Civil Justice Subcommittee Members
Chairman Jim Coley 615-741-8201
Bill Beck 615-741-3229
Mike Carter 615-741-3025
Sherry Jones 615-741-2035
Jon Lundberg 615-741-7623
Leigh Wilburn 615-741-6890
Sponsors of SB1245/HB1316