TN Constitutional Carry Bill Clears First Hurdle

As constitutional carry bills seem bound and determined to stall out in so many other places, Tennessee is a little different. There, the governor has thrown his full support for the measure, which is bound to help it move forward.

Even so, constitutional carry still has to pass the legislature. The legislative path is one with a lot of potential hurdles that can scuttle even gubernatorially-backed bills easily enough.

The constitutional carry bill, however, just cleared one of them.

A Tennessee subcommittee has advanced legislation that would permit individuals to conceal or open carry a handgun without a permit, but gun-rights advocates say the bill doesn’t go far enough and gun-control advocates say it goes too far.

The legislation, House Bill 2817, would remove all criminal penalties for a person carrying a firearm without a permit as long as that person otherwise would have qualified for a permit. A person who would have had his permit revoked would not be allowed to carry. It still would require a person to obtain a permit to carry a firearm in a city park.

Violations of some gun laws also would see stricter penalties under this legislation, including increasing the mandatory minimum for firearm theft from 30 days to 180 days.

“It increases our liberties here in Tennessee, and, at the same time, it is tough on those criminals out there that would abuse the privilege and the right to carry a firearm,” the bill’s primary sponsor, House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, told the House Constitutional Protections & Sentencing Subcommittee on Tuesday.

I couldn’t agree more with Majority Leader Lamberth on this one.

Plus, Lamberth also makes sense when discussing training and carrying a firearm.

Although Lamberth said he would encourage a person to take classes if he or she is going to carry a weapon regularly, he does not believe it’s the government’s role to mandate it.

Again, well said.

Right now, the bill clearly has the support of the House majority leader and the governor. If it enjoys similar popularity in the Senate, then the bill is as good as passed. That’ll be a huge win for Tennessee.

That’s not to say anyone can rest on their laurels right now. I wouldn’t recommend that in the least. Instead, it’s time for activists in the state to turn up the heat. It’s time to reach out and make it clear to your legislators that you want this bill to become law. You want constitutional carry as well as the increased penalties for firearm theft.

Look, having a permit requirement doesn’t make anyone safer. It lets people delude themselves into thinking it makes them safer. That’s all it does. Just because they’re comfortable with that delusion doesn’t mean we should allow it to persist. On the contrary, they need the awakening that comes from their hallucinations are shattered before their very eyes.

I look forward to seeing constitutional carry in place in Tennessee very soon. I hope it’s in place when I visit there this summer.

Hell, it would be nice if Georgia’s lawmakers took some notes on this one, but that’s just my personal opinion.