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People with concealed carry permits tend to spend a fair bit of time learning about their guns and how to operate them. They spend a lot of time at the range and even take classes from time to time if they’re able. They’re more than willing to get the proper training to handle their firearms properly.
However, a handful of states require training before a concealed carry permit is ever issued, something that’s never done as a requirement to exercise any other constitutional right. Including live fire training.
Now, at least one state is looking to move away from that standard.
It will be up to Republican Gov. Bill Lee to decide whether Tennessee will start offering a concealed carry-only handgun permit that doesn’t require training that includes actually firing a weapon.
The Senate voted 18-11 Thursday for Republican Sen. John Stevens’ bill, which would allow online training of at least 90 minutes with a test to suffice for the new, less expensive permits. The current handgun carry permits would still remain an option, but Stevens contended that their eight-hour training requirement with live firing is time-consuming and burdensome.
The House already approved the bill, so it heads to the governor.
The proposal would be the highest profile gun rights change this year. Efforts died on several big pushes to loosen gun restrictions, including letting teachers carry guns and holding permit holders harmless if they mistakenly bring guns into businesses that ban them, then immediately leave when they find out they aren’t allowed.
The final vote on the permit bill came in what’s expected to be the day that lawmakers end their monthslong legislative session. In the GOP-supermajority General Assembly, six Republican senators voted with the chamber’s five Democrats in opposition. Critics said the current handgun carry permit is working well.
The critics are wrong.
Requiring people to undergo training creates a burden on the exercising of a constitutionally-protected right. To force potential gun owners to shoot creates even more of one. That’s not a system working well unless your goal is to get in the way of people’s freedom.
The truth of the matter is that there’s no evidence to suggest that a live-fire training requirement does anything to make anyone safer.
Unfortunately, these lawmakers have an issue. They figure, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s normally a safe way to do things, but we’re talking about people’s rights here. The existence of a requirement at all is indicative of a break in the system. There’s no training requirement for journalists or pastors, is there? Of course not, and the idea of having one would be met with justified howls of indignation. No, the system is broken, which means it needs to be fixed.
The problem is that these lawmakers don’t see the break. They’re relatively happy with the status quo and don’t want to upset that.
What they’re not understanding is that when it comes to people’s rights, the status quo should always be questioned. Are lawmakers doing enough to make sure the people can exercise their rights to their fullest potential?
The passage of the bill was a good sign. Now, the governor of Tennessee needs to sign it so the people of the fair state can move the needle away from gun control if only just a bit.