LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT! Guns and schools, permit-less carry

TN LEGISLATURE

Last week week, we played offense in support of MaKayla’s Law. The bill is very much alive and received overwhelming support in the media, including a brilliant op-ed in the Memphis Commercial Appeal and a scathing take-down in The Nashville Scene. The bill will be heard for a second time in the Senate Judiciary next Tuesday.

Offense last week, but this week, we’re on defense. And, there’s a lot we need to fight.

As you look through the five bills below, you will see some common themes – the desire to allow gun permit holders to carry of guns to schools and on school campuses and at school events (elementary through high school as well as on college campuses) while at the same time, the push to eliminate the requirement to train and obtain a permit before carrying a gun in public.

It’s important to note that Tennessee is 9th in the nation for accidental shootings. As of today, there have been a total of 23 accidental shooting, 14 of which involved adults. The most recent one occurred this weekend when a Knoxville permit holder shot himself in the leg outside of a Cheesecake Factory. In one eight day period in February, there were five incidents, including a permit holder who shot himself while using the restroom at work and a Greeneville city employee who shot himself getting out of his city-owned vehicle.

Please look through these and consider making some phone calls and sending some emails. At the bottom of this email, there are several lists – one is a list of each committee, the bills to be heard, and just the email addresses of the committee members in case you want to just copy and paste all the email addresses into one message you can send to all members. Further down is a more detailed list of both the email address and phone numbers of the committee members if you would like to make phone calls as well as emails.

The message below is full of links to more detail. I know it’s a lot of information! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like attend a hearing.

Thanks for your support and let’s stop some (dangerous) bills!

TUESDAY

House Education Administration and Planning Committee – – 10:30am on Tuesday
Priority gun bills on calendar: 1

HB 2131/SB1991 – Guns in Trunks on College Campuses – this bill would allow students and faculty with handgun permits to store guns in their vehicle while on college campuses.

The bill has already passed the Senate Judiciary and has been referred to the full senate for a vote. The House Education Administration and Planning Committee could stop the bill tomorrow.

CONCERNS: there are numerous examples of college students getting into fights in parking lots on campus. It’s hard to imagine any scenario when more guns would have made these situations better.

On October 9th of last year, a fraternity fight broke out in a Northern Arizona University parking lot. One of the participants ran to his car, grabbed his gun, and opened fire, killing one and injuring three others. The shooter was an avid gun enthusiast who regularly posted photos of his guns on social media.

On August 26th of last year, a heated argument in a Texas Southern University parking lot turned deadly when one of the individuals killed one person and wounded a bystander.

On January 30th, 2014, a fight erupted in an Eastern Florida State College parking lot. One of the participants grabbed a gun and injured one of his attackers. All three men involved in the incident claimed they were acting in self defense.

It’s hard to imagine how more guns in any of these scenarios would have made the situation safer.

Senate Judiciary Committee – – 3:30 on Tuesday
Priority gun bills on the calendar: 3

SB1483/HB1748 – “Constitutional Carry” – this bill would allow anyone who is not prohibited from possessing a handgun to carry handgun without a permit under the same circumstances and in the same places as a permit holder. This means that someone who may or may not have any experience with a handgun would be able to carry their gun anywhere that doesn’t prohibit guns, such as public parks, bars and restaurants, and any other place that doesn’t post a “no guns” sign.

The companion house bill will be heard in the House Civil Justice Committee on Wednesday if it passes the Senate Judiciary Tuesday.

CONCERNS: Tennessee is 9th in the nation for accidental shootings. Our accidental shooting incidents are up significantly from this time last year. There have been THREE times more accidental shootings than there were at this same point in 2015. During one week in February, there were FIVE accidental shooting incidents, including one permit holder who shot himself at work while using the bathroom. To obtain a permit in Tennessee requires only a basic 8 hour class that addresses basic gun nomenclature, an overview of gun laws, and some range time. It’s not much but it’s certainly better than nothing! The Department of Safety is opposed to this bill as are we.

SB1559/ HB2376 – “Guns and Private Schools” – this bill would require all private K-12 schools and colleges and universities to establish a handgun policy that either allows or prohibits permit holders from bringing guns onto campus.

The companion house bill will be heard in the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee on Wednesday if it passes the Senate Judiciary Tuesday.

CONCERNS: The current law prohibits ALL schools – K-12 and post-secondary, public and private – from allowing guns on campuses. This bill seeks to force all private schools in the state into weighing in on the gun debate. The chance of an active shooter event on a school campus is very small. Even if such a situation presented itself, there’s no guarantee that a permit holder would be able to stop the shooter without making the situation worse, a point that law enforcemnt . Lastly, considering the frequency of accidental shootings we see in our state, any time guns are carried in or around students, there is a possibility of unintentional discharge.

SB2376/HB1736 – “Guns for Professors” – this bill will allow any full-time employees of state public colleges or universities who are permit holders to carry a handgun while on property owned, operated, or used by the college or university.

The house bill will be heard in the House Civil Justice Committee on Wednesday if it passes the Senate Judiciary Tuesday.

CONCERNS: The concerns around this bill are addressed above. In addition, there have been several incidents involving teachers unintentionally discharging their gun while at work.

On November 9th, 2012, an employee at the University of Denver dental school was showing her handgun to some colleagues when she accidentally fired it while trying to unjam it.

On September 3rd, 2014, a professor at Idaho State University accidentally shot himself in the foot in the middle of class. Idaho had allowed campus carry only two months before.

On September 6, 2014, a sixth grade teacher in Utah accidentally discharged her gun in a faculty restroom.

WEDNESDAY

House Finance, Ways & Means – – 10:30 Wednesday
Priority gun bills on calendar: 1

HB1644/SB1559 – “Guns and Private Schools” – this bill would require all private K-12 schools and colleges and universities to establish a handgun policy that either allows or prohibits permit holders from bringing guns onto campus.

(This is the House companion bill to SB 1559. Look for it under Senate Judiciary Committee above for our concerns.)

House Civil Justice Subcommittee – – 3:00 Wednesday
Priority gun bills on calendar: 3

In addition to the two bills mentioned above that are slated for hearings on Wednesday in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee (HB1748 “Constitutional Carry” and HB1736 “Guns for Professors”), there’s one other bill on the Civil Justice Subcommittee calendar:

HB1751/SB2249 – “Guns on a Bus” – this bill would allow all local school boards and all private schools to determine whether someone (parent, teacher, coach, school visitor, vendor) with a permit can carry a gun while on school property and which traveling on school functions with students – such as on a school bus for a field trip or sporting event. The bill would allow anyone with a permit to bring guns to school functions and sporting events. Each school board or private school can determine if the manner of carry is conceal, open, or both.

CONCERNS: In addition to very obvious concerns about accidental shootings, especially in classrooms and school buses, this could also create enormous confusion if some school districts opt to allow guns while others don’t. Despite what those who favor unfettered access to guns might believe, some parents would be very uncomfortable with someone they don’t know carrying a semi-automatic handgun in close proximity to their child.

BILLS GROUPED BY COMMITTEE

HOUSE EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION & PLANNING – – 10:30 Tuesday
Bills:
HB2131 “Guns in Trunks on College Campuses”

rep.harry.brooks@capitol.tn.gov
rep.debra.moody@capitol.tn.gov
rep.johndeberry@capitol.tn.gov
rep.kevin.dunlap@capitol.tn.gov
rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov
rep.eddie.smith@capitol.tn.gov
rep.johnnie.turner@capitol.tn.gov
rep.dawn.white@capitol.tn.gov
rep.mark.white@capitol.tn.gov
rep.rick.womick@capitol.tn.gov
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE– – 3:30 Tuesday
Bills:
SB 1483 “Constitutional Carry”
SB 1559 “Guns and Private Schools”
SB 2376 “Guns for Professors”

sen.brian.kelsey@capitol.tn.gov
sen.doug.overbey@capitol.tn.gov
sen.janice.bowling@capitol.tn.gov
sen.mike.bell@capitol.tn.gov
sen.todd.gardenhire@capitol.tn.gov
sen.lee.harris@capitol.tn.gov
sen.sara.kyle@capitol.tn.gov
sen.kerry.roberts@capitol.tn.gov
sen.john.stevens@capitol.tn.gov

HOUSE FINANCE, WAYS & MEANS – – 10:30 Wednesday
Bills:
HB 1644 “Guns and Private Schools”

rep.curtis.g.johnson@capitol.tn.gov
rep.david.alexander@capitol.tn.gov
rep.kevin.brooks@capitol.tn.gov
rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.gov
rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov
rep.gerald.mccormick@capitol.tn.gov
rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.gov
rep.charles.sargent@capitol.tn.gov
rep.curry.todd@capitol.tn.gov
HOUSE CIVIL JUSTICE SUBCOMITTEE – – 3:00 Wednesday
Bills:
HB 1748 “Constitutional Carry”
HB 1736 “Guns for Professors”
HB 1751 “Guns on the Bus”

rep.jim.coley@capitol.tn.gov
rep.bill.beck@capitol.tn.gov
rep.mike.carter@capitol.tn.gov
rep.sherry.jones@capitol.tn.gov
rep.jon.lundberg@capitol.tn.gov

PHONE AND EMAILS FOR COMMITTEE MEMBERS

HOUSE EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION & PLANNING – – 10:30 Tuesday

Harry Brooks 615-741-6879
rep.harry.brooks@capitol.tn.gov
117 WMB

Debra Moody 615-741-3774
rep.debra.moody@capitol.tn.gov
205 WMB

John DeBerry 615-741-2239
rep.johndeberry@capitol.tn.gov
26 LP

Kevin Dunlap 615-741-1963
rep.kevin.dunlap@capitol.tn.gov
32 LP

Craig Fitzhugh 615-741-2134
rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov
33 LP

Eddie Smith 615-741-2031
rep.eddie.smith@capitol.tn.gov
207 WMB

Johnnie Turner 615-741-6954
rep.johnnie.turner@capitol.tn.gov
38 LP

Dawn White 615-741-6849
rep.dawn.white@capitol.tn.gov
209A WMB

Mark White 615-741-4415
rep.mark.white@capitol.tn.gov
217 WMB

Rick Womick 615-741-2804
rep.rick.womick@capitol.tn.gov
G-29 WMB
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE – – 3:30 Tuesday

Sen. Brian Kelsey 615-741-3036
sen.brian.kelsey@capitol.tn.gov
7 LP

Sen. Doug Overbey 615-741-0981
sen.doug.overbey@capitol.tn.gov
306 WMB

Sen. Janice Bowling 615-741-6694
sen.janice.bowling@capitol.tn.gov
310 WMB

Sen. Mike Bell 615-741-1946
sen.mike.bell@capitol.tn.gov
309 WMB

Sen. Todd Gardenhire 615-741-6682
sen.todd.gardenhire@capitol.tn.gov
11A LP

Sen. Lee Harris 615-741-1767
sen.lee.harris@capitol.tn.gov
318 WMB

Sen. Sara Kyle 615-741-4167
sen.sara.kyle@capitol.tn.gov
305 WMB

Sen. Kerry Roberts 615-741-4499
sen.kerry.roberts@capitol.tn.gov
321 WMB

Sen John Stevens 615-741-4576
sen.john.stevens@capitol.tn.gov
302 WMB
HOUSE FINANCE, WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE 10:30 – – Wednesday

Curtis G. Johnson 615-741-4341
rep.curtis.g.johnson@capitol.tn.gov
15 LP

David Alexander 615-741-8695
rep.david.alexander@capitol.tn.gov
107 WMB

Kevin Brooks 615-741-1350
rep.kevin.brooks@capitol.tn.gov
103 WMB

Karen Camper 615-741-1898
rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.gov
32 LP

Craig Fitzhugh 615-741-2134
rep.craig.fitzhugh@capitol.tn.gov
33 LP

Gerald McCormick 615-741-2548
rep.gerald.mccormick@capitol.tn.gov
18A LP

Steve McDaniel 615-741-0750
rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.gov
18 LP

HOUSE CIVIL JUSTICE SUBCOMMITTEE – – 3:00 WEDNESDAY

Jim Coley 615-741-8201
rep.jim.coley@capitol.tn.gov
207 WMB

Bill Beck 615-741-3229
rep.bill.beck@capitol.tn.gov
24 LP

Mike Carter 615-741-3025
rep.mike.carter@capitol.tn.gov
G-3 WMB

Sherry Jones 615-741-2035
rep.sherry.jones@capitol.tn.gov
26 LP

Jon Lundberg 615-741-7623
rep.jon.lundberg@capitol.tn.gov
20 LP

Charles Sargent 615-741-6808
rep.charles.sargent@capitol.tn.gov
206 WMB

Curry Todd 615-741-1866
rep.curry.todd@capitol.tn.gov
209 WMB

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